USC commit Maloata adjusts to limelight

MISSION VIEJO, Calif. -- The large crowds and bright Friday night lights intimidated Austin Maloata (Corona, Calif./Centennial) at first. That much he will admit.

Playing football in his native Samoa, in front of his family and friends, came easy. Maloata was plenty comfortable there, having established himself as one of the region’s top players.

After arriving in Southern California this past offseason, the three-star defensive end stood out in workouts and camps, where he generated buzz by performing well against high caliber offensive linemen.

Training sessions, though, do not draw thousands of spectators. Most of the work is done without anyone else watching. When Maloata has taken the field with powerhouse Centennial so far this season, the biggest challenge has been converting his nervous energy into fuel.