Treven Ma’ae is more than 2,500 miles away from his home in Kapolei, Hawaii. He chats by phone from his new surroundings — a dorm room at Bishop Gorman High School, a football hotbed of recruiting talent in Las Vegas.
Just six weeks ago, he was participating in showcase events, such as the Kingdom Bowl and the Paradise Classic showcase, in his home state. But now, he’s going to school and living in the continental United States, a place he’s not all too familiar with.
Ma’ae, a Class of 2019 defensive end, described school as tough. His football experience, which only has consisted of offseason training so far, has been “amazing.” The past six weeks have been a whirlwind of change, but for the better.
“It’s turned out to be well worth it,” Ma’ae told Land of 10.
The reason behind Ma’ae’s move speaks to his selfless character. Ma’ae’s brother-in-law works for the National Security Agency and recently deployed on assignment to Afghanistan for a year. He and Ma’ae’s sister have four kids, and the family lives in Texas. Ma’ae’s sister home schools the children. She intends to move the family to Las Vegas for the summer, or at least until her husband returns.
Ma’ae saw an opportunity to assist his sister with the kids and be there for his nieces and nephews.
“I wanted to help her out with that,” Ma’ae said. “Since she’s moving to Vegas, I applied to Bishop Gorman. I got accepted and they wanted me to start right away.
“It happened fairly quickly, within two weeks, I’d say.”
Moving away from home at a young age is a different experience. But his sister appreciates his gesture, he said.
“She’s really excited,” Ma’ae said. “I don’t think she expected much, but I think she’s happy about that.”
Treven Ma’ae’s transfer will benefit his recruitment
Ma’ae’s recruitment has picked up since his transfer. In the last six weeks, he said, he’s received eight of his 13 offers and gained 20 pounds because of his new weight-room regimen. In the classroom, Bishop Gorman is challenging Ma’ae the right way, he said. (The school also produced Nebraska sophomore receiver Tyjon Lindsey.) Now that he’s living away from home, it won’t be much of a change when he heads off to college.
“It’s crazy,” Ma’ae said. “It’s hectic a little bit. But it’s going really well.”
The move to Bishop Gorman will give him better coaching and test him against improved competition. It’s also helped his exposure on the recruiting trail. Outside of the Huskers, USC keeps in constant contact with him. Oregon and Virginia also reach out a lot, he said. Other schools, such as Vanderbilt, Duke, California, Utah and Arizona State all have offered him.
Ma’ae is the 57th-ranked weakside defensive end in the class, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
Like a lot of things in Ma’ae’s life lately, his Nebraska recruitment also seemingly came from thin air.
“It was out of the blue, actually, kind of surprising,” Ma’ae said.
He had heard from a Nebraska recruiting staff member on Twitter after practice one day. Two days later, one of his coaches called him into his office, saying a coach wanted to speak with him. Outside linebackers coach Jovan Dewitt was on the line. He offered Ma’ae as an outside linebacker.
“I didn’t really know who he was until he said his name,” Ma’ae said. “He said they had just evaluated my film. It was really spontaneous.”
The conversation with Dewitt went well, Ma’ae said. It’s also a happy coincidence that two of Ma’ae’s favorite pass rushers, Randy Gregory and Ndamukong Suh, are Nebraska alums. He also likes the tradition of the program.
“I like to watch Randy Gregory’s highlights before games to just try and mimic his motor,” Ma’ae said. “He’s a high-intensity player, just going balls to the wall.”
With Ma’ae getting settled in at Bishop Gorman, he’s not going on any visits yet. But once football goes on break during the summer, he hopes to make a couple of trips, with Nebraska occupying a priority spot on his list.
One of Ma’ae’s favorite workouts since he arrived at Bishop Gorman is called “The Husker Circuit,” which is focused on various exercises lasting 120 seconds before immediately jumping into the next task.
“It’s intense,” he said.
Nebraska sees Ma’ae as an outside linebacker, he said, although he’s played on the line throughout high school. The last time he played linebacker was eighth grade, but Dewitt told him he would be an edge rusher at Nebraska, so that wouldn’t be too big of a transition.
Most of the schools recruiting Ma’ae would like to see him gain weight so that he can put his hand in the dirt and play on the line when he arrives at school. The 6-foot-4 Ma’ae weighs 230 pounds, and he already has displayed an ability to tack on weight at a rapid pace when in the right environment.
Even if it’s far away from home.