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Nevada’s top football recruit commits to Oregon

The top football recruit for the class of 2021 in Nevada has made his college decision.

Liberty tight end Moliki Matavao, a 6-foot-6-inch, 240-pounder, announced Wednesday on Twitter that he will attend Oregon.

“I made the commitment kind of early,” Matavao said. “I didn’t want to make it this early, but since we can’t take any visits, I figured this is the best time.”

Matavao, a four-star recruit who is ranked No. 293 in the ESPN 300, caught 49 passes for 738 yards and six touchdowns as a junior for the Patriots, who won their first state championship.

While Matavao made his decision earlier than the midsummer announcement he had planned because of visits being canceled by the coronavirus pandemic, he felt confident he’d done his due diligence and found a place where he’ll be able to compete to get on the field right away.

“The depth chart is kind of open,” Matavao said. “Through hard work and dedication, I could have an immediate impact as a true freshman. That’s what I want to do.”

Matavao said he likes the fit in new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead’s offense as well, as it will allow him to stretch the field vertically. Moorhead came to Oregon from Penn State and replaces Marcus Arroyo, now the head coach at UNLV.

Matavao said he hasn’t been to a game at Autzen Stadium yet and can’t wait to be part of its atmosphere. He has been to Oregon on a visit and came away loving the lifestyle there.

“Eugene is a beautiful college town, and it’s so different from Vegas,” Matavao said. “Everything is so green there. I’m big on the outdoors, and I like hiking and backpacking. It feels like a place I can adapt to quickly.”

The Ducks are coming off a 12-2 season in which they beat Utah 37-15 in the Pac-12 Championship Game, then edged Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl 28-27. Matavao sees the Ducks as a national championship contender in the coming years under coach Mario Cristobal.

As for his senior season, Matavao hopes the Patriots can repeat and he can continue to work on improving his game.

“I always look at myself and what I can do to be better,” Matavao said. “I was raised to never be complacent with where I am. I’m working on my speed and agility, but also blocking. Everyone’s going to be bigger, stronger and better, and I think blocking is what will help me contribute early on. My ultimate goal is to play in the NFL, and you need to be a complete tight end to do that.”

Contact Jason Orts at jorts@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2936. Follow @SportsWithOrts on Twitter.

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