Malone Mataele will continue playing college football in Utah, just not at the University of Utah.

The former Utes defensive back, who entered the NCAA transfer portal on Nov. 21, has signed with Utah State, the school announced early Wednesday morning.

A native of Rancho Santa Margarita, California, Mataele played four seasons at Utah, recording 43 tackles, five pass deflections and an interception.

His most productive season was his sophomore year in 2021 when he had 28 tackles, two pass breakups and his interception.

Entering this season, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham was optimistic about Mataele’s future, telling the Deseret News: “(He) has really started to develop. He started all year for us (in 2021) and he’s gotten even better.”

A rising senior, Mataele recorded statistics in just five games with Utah during the 2022 season, however, and was the first Ute to enter the transfer portal in the current cycle (he has subsequently been joined in the portal by linebackers Ethan Calvert and Mason Tufaga, defensive end Tyler Wegis and tight end Landon Morris).

A three-star recruit coming out of Santa Margarita Catholic High School, the 5-foot-11, 170 Mataele had offers from nine Power Five schools and was viewed as a promising up-and-coming player for the Utes.

Listed at SAF, otherwise known as striker, Mataele joins an Aggie team that finished the 2022 regular season 6-7 as it was hammered by injuries.

He adds an experienced voice to a defensive backfield that is losing one of its most important players in safety Hunter Reynolds.

Mataele was one of two Power Five transfers Utah State announced early Wednesday, along with former Washington State Cougars linebacker Gavin Barthiel.

Part of the Cougars’ 2021 signing class, Barthiel is a former three-star recruit who was rated a top 50 outside linebacker prospect by ESPN.