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UNLV receiver granted extra year of eligibility

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New Mexico’s cornerback Caleb Kimbro, right, has a hard time catching up to UNLV’s receiver Maika Mataele, left, in the first half Saturday evening Sept. 28, 2013, at University stadium in Albuquerque, N.M. (AP Photo/Albuquerque Journal, Roberto E. Rosales)

One of UNLV football’s strengths got a little better today as the NCAA awarded another year of eligibility to receiver Maika Mataele, the school announced.

Mataele, who’s from Hawaii, attended Oregon State for one year before transferring to UNLV. However, he didn’t play football at OSU or until his second year at UNLV, when he played receiver and special teams. Mataele was a pleasant surprise for the Rebels as a senior in 2013, finishing third on the team with 36 catches and 411 yards, along with three touchdowns.

Eligibility-wise, the NCAA’s decision basically equates one of Mataele’s non-football school years to a redshirt season. His return adds depth to a position that includes some experience talent — seniors Devante Davis, Marcus Sullivan and Taylor Spencer — as well as fresh faces like freshmen Devonte Boyd and Trent Riley.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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