In 2019, Maximus Fonoti-Maikui started for the Northridge High football team, wearing the Knights red and grey colors.

In 2020, he swapped those for Layton blue. In 2021, he’ll be back in Northridge red and in 2022, he plans to be in Aggie blue.

Fonoti-Maikui, currently a junior, verbally committed to Utah State’s football team over the weekend in a social media post.

He’s one of a couple known verbal commits to USU from the class of 2022 as the Aggies try and make recruiting inroads in Northern Utah under new head coach Blake Anderson.

“I respect that they kind of took a chance on me ... I like what coach Blake Anderson stands for, I love his faith, family’s first, he’s been through a lot and they’ve shown me nothing but love there,” Fonoti-Maikui said in a phone interview Wednesday.

The Aggies are the only school to officially extend him an offer, but he had been contacted by Weber State and Utah, he said. Fonoti-Maikui called the scholarship offer from Utah State a blessing.

He played inside linebacker his sophomore and junior year and has been recruited to USU as an outside linebacker by Aggies special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach Nick Paremski.

Fonoti-Maikui’s approach to football is to be a “step ahead.”

“I’m not the tallest, the biggest, the fastest, the strongest, but I feel like if you’re football-smart and you’re a step ahead of your opponent, it’ll help you out a lot,” he said, adding that he’s 6-foot-2, 195 pounds.

In 2019 as a sophomore, he led Northridge in tackles with 78 along with a team-high six tackles-for-loss and five sacks.

Fonoti-Maikui transferred to Layton last season before going back to Northridge in advance of the coming season, where he said he expects he’ll play safety and quarterback. His 2020 statistics aren’t listed on Layton’s team stat page on MaxPreps.

Since COVID-19 has made recruiting a mostly virtual process, Fonoti-Maikui hasn’t been to Utah State’s campus yet but said he plans to go this Saturday in an unofficial capacity for the first of two USU football scrimmages during the Aggies spring season.

Fonoti-Maikui is originally from Hawai’i and moved to Layton four years ago, a similar path that another former Northridge football player, Otto Tia, traveled before committing to Utah State.

Contact reporter Patrick Carr via email at pcarr@standard.net and follow him on Twitter @patrickcarr_.

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