Austin Maloata remains committed to USC but the Corona (Calif.) Centennial defensive lineman gave that sliver of hope to other teams with his comments this past weekend at the B2G Elite Camp.
"It's still my top school but all my options, they're all still open," Maloata said. "I'm still going to USC for now but signing day isn't until February so anything could happen. Right now I'm still strong with SC."
Alabama has been showing initial interest in Maloata, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound three-star prospect who dominated the one-on-one linemen drills Sunday at the B2G camp.
His teammate, close friend and workout partner, four-star offensive guard Viane Talamaivao, is committed to the Crimson Tide so the two - along with fellow four-star Damien Mama - talk about the recruiting process often.
"I've recently talked to Alabama but we didn't talk that much," Maloata said. "They just said they like the way I play and everything so that was just about it.
"We're like close brothers. Me and V train every day. We do one-on-ones all the time and we're getting quicker and faster. V is one of the top o-linemen in the nation so going against him every day is making me better. Me, Damien and Viane, we always train every Tuesday and Thursday so we're all good."
During some of those recruiting conversations, Maloata tries to convince Talamaivao to flip to the Trojans and Talamaivao is trying to get Maloata more interested in Alabama. Since the Crimson Tide hasn't offered yet, though, Maloata said he cannot take them too seriously.
"I bring up USC and he's telling me to go to Alabama but so far 'Bama hasn't offered yet," Maloata said. "We'll just see what happens but I'm not really sure."
Miami and Houston have offered Maloata and so have Washington State and Ole Miss and those two seem to be coming after the Corona Centennial standout the hardest. The Rebels especially are making a push and Maloata said he appreciates the attention.
"Ole Miss has been really strong on me so I really appreciate how they're fighting for me even though I'm going to SC," Maloata said.