Contact CU Independent Sports Writer Jake Mauff at Jacob.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three-star linebacker recruit Pookie Maka announced his decision to commit to the University of Colorado on Sunday. The Utah native posted his decision on Twitter.
Maka is considered by Rivals.com to be the fifth best recruit in Utah. The 6-foot-3-inch future Buff played high school football at Cottonwood Senior in Murray, Utah, and made his decision while on a CU visit.
Colorado beat out at least 10 other schools for Maka’s services. What these teams were fighting over can be seen here.
The Buffs are hoping Maka can be the player he is in the highlight video: one who makes plays all over the field. That comes with an emphasis of “in the other team’s backfield.”
Maka is more of an outside than an inside linebacker. Playing time may be hard to come by this next season, with juniors Jimmie Gilbert and Kenneth Olugbode manning the outside spots.
But in Maka, defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt will add some much-needed depth to his linebacking crew. Injuries ravaged the team last season. In addition to potential injuries, freshman linebacker Grant Wantanabe left the program after a freshman season in which he recorded 33 tackles, two passes defended and a sack on the season.
Leavitt helped turn the defense into a much-improved unit in 2015 in his first season on the job. After 2014, in which the Buffs gave up 461 yards and 39 points a game, the Colorado defense improved to 417 yards a game and 27.5 points. Those aren’t great numbers, but they’re much better. They can only improve with a healthy linebacking core and a raw athlete like Maka, whether he’s on the front lines or a key reserve for the 2016-17 season.
The Maka signing only scratches the surface of Colorado’s signing period, as this coming Wednesday, Feb. 3 is college football’s National Signing Day. CU Independent will be providing updates on the 2016 Colorado football recruiting class throughout the week.