LOS ANGELES – Corona, Calif., offensive guard Max Tuioti-Mariner is without a doubt one of the top players in Los Angeles and he proved it time after time Sunday at the NIKE Training Camp at the University of Southern California.
Tuioti-Mariner started a little slow in the footwork drills, but by the time the one-on-one battles arrived he had really come into his own.
On his first rep during the battles with the defensive linemen, Tuioti-Mariner took the defender, grabbed him by the neck and threw him down with a crushing pancake block.
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While he probably would have been called for holding on the play, it was the play that drew the biggest reaction from the crowd watching the drills. It also summed up how tenacious, strong and aggressive Tuioti-Mariner really is all in one play.
"I don't really know what happened on that play," Tuioti-Mariner said, with blood still oozing out of a his busted lower lip. "He came at me, he put his hands up and I went to fight him off and somehow I ended up grabbing him. I just threw him down."
While Tuioti-Mariner is aggressive on the field, he said he's not going to be aggressive in the recruiting process.
"I'm going to take it slow," he said. "I want to see how many offers I can get. I don't want to rush. I don't want to change my mind."
With offers in hand from Ole Miss, Colorado, BYU, Oregon, Oregon State and Arizona, Tuioti-Mariner is excited about talking to coaches for the first time during the spring evaluation process. He said he really hopes to hear from a school that hasn't offered him yet.
So who's that school?
"I want to hear something from Cal," he said. "I don't know why. I heard it's a good program. I know it's a good program."
Tuioti-Mariner's teammate, defensive end Henry Asuega, also had a good day at the camp.
"I think I did all right," he said. "There's a lot of room for improvement. I think I did Ok. The drills with the defensive line was really a lot of fun, and I think I did well with that. I not satisfied with how I did in the one-on-ones, because I wanted to beat the top guys like Tyron Smith, but I didn't get it. I still got a lot of wins."
Asuega has not picked up his first scholarship yet, but he said he's getting plenty of attention.
"I'd like to hear from Hawaii," he said. "My cousin goes up there. I'm also liking Colorado and Washington. I don't want to rush it. I want to see what my choices are."