It was a disappointing day for Peni Maka’afi. His Northridge Knights lost in the first round of the state playoffs to the Bingham Miners, but not all is lost for the Northridge star, who is looking forward to becoming a part of the Cougar program.
“I didn’t think we would lose this early and was hoping we would make it through the whole month of November,” said Maka’afi. “I am excited about moving forward and I’m looking ahead now to BYU.”
Maka’afi didn’t quite have the senior year he was hoping for, as he was hampered by injuries all season long. He is now focusing on getting his knee and ankle healthy, among other things.
“My goals are to get healthy and work hard now that the season is over,” said Maka’afi. “I just want to work hard and get my strength up while getting faster. I also want to focus on school and make sure that I’m getting it done in the classroom. That’s what’s most important. I want to focus on my grades first and then working on my speed.”
Maka’afi, who has been to a few BYU games this year, talked about the team and its mentality over the course of the season.
“I went to the UCLA game and everything was the way I expected it to be,” said Maka’afi. “It made it the reason why I wanted to be there, but as the season went on they kind of lost that fire. I think it’s back now with that loss to TCU. I’ll be heading on down to watch BYU play San Diego State for their last home game.”
Although Maka’afi plays on both sides of the ball, the coaches at BYU have been talking to him about playing as a running back. Maka’afi does all things well in terms of what is expected of backs in BYU’s offense. The coaches at Northridge use Maka’afi to not only run the ball, but to also block during passing downs. He also catches the ball well out of the backfield and is very hard to bring down, as Bingham found out firsthand.
“I’m not exactly sure where I’ll be playing, whether at the running back, fullback or tailback position,” Maka’afi said. “I just know I’ll be in the backfield somewhere, but I just don’t know where exactly I’ll be playing.”
Although he’s committed to BYU, Maka’afi still receives quite a few letters. He’s also been hearing from UCLA and Boise State, which have both come into the picture a bit late. Nevertheless, coaches from both of those programs have been feeling out his interest in BYU and talking to Maka’afi about their own programs.
“I still get a lot of letters from Utah and Oregon State,” said Maka’afi. “UCLA has been talking to me now, as well as Boise State. I’ve been hearing from different schools during the recruiting process and they’re showing some interest in me.”