Mackey Maillho commitment

Mandeville Skippers' offensive guard Mackey Maillho (79) is the latest commitment to the UL Ragin' Cajuns. Maillho is 6-foot-8 and weighs 365 pounds.

Mandeville coach Hutch Gonzales understands what the first impression of many will likely be when hearing UL football’s most recent verbal commitment stands at 6-foot-8 and weighs 365 pounds.

But in his mind, it’s probably a bit uninformed.

“If you’ve seen him on film, he can be devastating when he gets going,” Gonzales said of Maillho, who verbally committed to the Ragin’ Cajuns on Thursday.

“He’s 6-8 and 365 pounds and he’s every bit of that. That’s not a stretch at all. When you think about a 365-pound human being, you think he’s probably got a little extra fat flying around a little bit, but not at all. This is a 6-8, 365-pound athlete."

Maillho primarily plays offensive guard for the Skippers, but he’s being recruited as a tackle for the next level.

“I know I can play tackle, but if they need me to play somewhere else, I know I’m versatile enough to play wherever they need,” Maillho said.

Time will tell how UL’s staff will handle his weight, but Maillho agrees with his coach.

“I think I have the athletic ability to carry the weight,” he said. “I was lighter my freshman and sophomore years, but I was fat. Now I’ve dropped my body fat percentage and I’ve raised my muscle mass. I’m faster and stronger than ever.”

A year ago, Gonzales admits he was wondering if “he might play better at 335 than at 350” as well.

“But he just keeps lifting and keeps getting bigger and keeps getting stronger and he keeps getting more agile,” Gonzales said. “He’s a stud. He really can move. It’s really surprising to see somebody that size move the way he does. You just don’t get an athlete like that very often.”

Maillho also had offers from South Alabama, New Mexico State, Southeastern and Northwestern State.

“I didn’t have a list,” he said. “I felt in my heart that the conviction was there and that UL was the best home for me.”

Seeing ex-Cajuns Robert Hunt get drafted in the second round and Kevin Dotson in the fourth round helped form Maillho’s strong UL feelings.

“It shows that they know what they’re doing and they’re able to product NFL talent,” Maillho said.

Maillho’s physical progress during the coronavirus shutdown fits right into UL’s goal of recruiting strong leaders.

“Knowing my senior year was coming up and we were doing to miss spring, spring is that point in time when you’re going to decide if that team is going to be together,” he said.

So, as Gonzales explained, “he took it upon himself to take half of our weight room before things were shut down and bring it to his parents’ house and turned his parents’ garage into his own gym.”

Literally.

Maillho organized a training schedule where 10 teammates would work out at a time to keep the team progressing during the shutdown.

“It was real nice to be able to work out,” he said. “I felt like it brought us closer together.

“There’s four or five guys that got especially stronger in that weight room in my garage. I got especially stronger. My bench went up 20 pounds.”

Maillho said it wasn’t mandatory, but Gonzales said his wishes are typically met.

“If you didn’t show up, you had to hear it from him … so pretty much everybody showed up from what I understand,” Gonzales laughed. “You didn’t want to hear from him.

“He is the unquestioned leader of our team. It’s not even close. He is the alpha male. He’s definitely got it.”

In Maillho’s mind, he and his teammates would be ready to play a game tomorrow if asked.

“We were fortunate to have coach (Michael) Desormeaux and several other coaches from there come in and really put an eye on him,” Gonzales said. “I’ve got a pretty good relationship with those guys. I’m glad that they trusted us and took the time to do their due diligence. I think they struck gold with this one. He’s a steal. I think he’s probably capable of playing at a higher level, but he’s fully committed. He loves it.”


Email Kevin Foote at kfoote@theadvocate.com.