Mataafa to enter NFL draft

In his junior season, Hercules Mataafa (No. 50) tallied 22.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks for Washington State. JAKE RYAN photo

The Maui News

Hercules Mataafa, a 2014 Lahainaluna High School graduate and consensus All-American defensive lineman at Washington State University, announced Sunday night on his Twitter account that he will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft.

Mataafa recorded 22.5 tackles for loss, a WSU single-season record, and 10.5 sacks this season for the 9-4 Cougars.

“I want to thank the entire Coug Nation for all the love and support you’ve shown me throughout my four years of college,” Mataafa wrote. “I’ve decided to forgo my senior year to enter the 2018 NFL draft and pursue a dream I’ve had since I was a kid.”

Mataafa, a redshirt junior, was named The Associated Press Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and Polynesian Football Hall of Fame College Player of the Year.

“I’ve had an incredible journey at WSU, and I couldn’t be more grateful to the coaches, teammates, fans, friends, community and family who helped me along the way. I will always be a Coug at heart,” he wrote Sunday.

The 6-foot-2, 252-pound defensive tackle’s 47 career tackles for loss are the second-most in Washington State history. He also finishes with 22.5 career sacks — fourth-most on the school’s list.

The NFL draft will be held April 26-28.