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March 20, 2010

Northern California event had many stars

BERKELEY, Calif. - His nickname is "Tiny" but it's clearly a joke because Viliami Moala from Sacramento (Calif.) Grant is anything but small - in stature and reputation.

Moala, who measured in at 6-foot-1 , 326-pound, was the biggest and one of the best-looking prospects at Saturday's Rivals.com Five-Star Academy held at the University of California.

The defensive tackle is big and strong and plays with a mean streak. That's why he's one of the highest-profile recruits on the West Coast.

"I never used to talk a lot and when I started speaking people found out I had a soft voice," said Moala, explaining his nickname. "They used to tell me I didn't sound too big."

Moala, who is mainly hearing from Pac-10 schools, said he has no favorites but that Southern Cal has offered, Cal is showing a lot of interest and that Arizona, Arizona State, Washington and Washington State are involved. An early decision is not expected.

There were a bunch of standout running backs in attendance, including Stanford commit Amir Carlisle, Livermore (Calif.) Granada's George Atkinson III and Lodi, Calif., prospect Jordan Perkins, who could be closing in on offers from South Florida, Washington and Washington State.

Atkinson (6-foot-1 , 194 pounds) is an intriguing prospect because he's being recruited as a running back, wide receiver and defensive back. He recently picked up an offer from Notre Dame, which likes him at wide receiver, and said Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Arizona and Illinois are others that stand out.

While Atkinson and Perkins, who said Stanford remains his top choice and he almost committed to the Cardinal before deciding to slow things down, are still trying to figure out their recruitment, Carlisle put a quick end to it by committing to Stanford in late June.

Other schools have offered and many are still pursuing him, but Carlisle said an early commitment has helped him keep focused.

"It's been a blessing," said Carlisle, who measured in at 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds. "I prayed about it and it was the right decision. It's taken out a lot of that extra recruiting stuff. My mindset has been clear."

Concord (Calif.) De La Salle was well represented by defensive end Dylan Wynn, who has offers from Oregon State, Washington State and Cal Poly, linebacker Blake Renaud (Minnesota offer) and 2012 quarterback Bart Houston, one of the best-looking rising juniors at the event.

Nebraska and Cal are showing increased interest in Wynn, a muscular and well-developed defensive end who could also play linebacker. He checked in at 6-foot-2 and 234 pounds. Arizona, UCLA and Oregon have been in contact with Houston, who measured at 6-foot-3 and 186 pounds. He threw for 1,257 yards with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions last season and has the tools to be one of the best in the West in the 2012 class.

Oregon State is the latest school to offer Jordan Rigsbee and UCLA is showing more interest but the Chico (Calif.) Pleasant Valley offensive lineman still has a top three of Cal, Oregon and Boise State.

His brother, Tyler, plays for the Golden Bears and Rigsbee said that familiarity helps but he still will visit his two other favorites and keep them in consideration.

"I'm looking at it pretty evenly," Rigsbee said.

"I'm just trying to go where it's best for me. It is more comfortable with all the guys here, I know all the guys here at Cal, so that makes it more comfortable for me here but I'll try to get to know everyone at the other schools and make my decision."

Danville (Calif.) Monte Vista offensive lineman Jacob Welter has an Ohio offer but he has an extensive travel schedule through the summer which will take him to the Midwest, East Coast and possibly to some Pac-10 schools. The 6-foot-4 , 291-pound prospect said UCLA recently contacted him and he's definitely interested in the Bruins.

Other recruits who made an impression were Petaluma (Calif.) Casa Grande pro-style quarterback Nick Sherry, who measured in at 6 feet 4 and 211 pounds; Santa Maria (Calif.) Maria Carrillo running back Sam Atoe, one of the more muscular recruits at the event; towering offensive lineman Brian Moran, a 6-foot-7 , 311-pound prospect from Atherton (Calif.) Sacred Heart Prep; and Fairfield (Calif.) Vanden pro-style quarterback Ben Scott, a 2012 recruit.

Two other linemen who stood out were Sacramento (Calif.) Inderkum's Nathan Falo, who has offers from Boise State and Washington State, and Berkeley, Calif., prospect Isaiah Henderson, who both were around 300 pounds.


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