Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has been causing a stir by visiting high schools in California and in the Midwest the past couple days and that was certainly the case when he stopped by La Mirada High School in La Mirada, Calif., on Monday.
“It was awesome,” La Mirada head coach Mike Moschetti said of the visit by Kelly, who was joined by the Irish’s West Coast recruiter, Mike Denbrock.
“Our school near well shut down. Our principal is a huge Notre Dame fan and his father-in-law is a huge Notre Dame fan. Everybody was excited. The kids were excited, the administration was excited, the whole city. It was a humbling experience. It was awesome.”
Kelly was there to check on 2014 tight end/athlete Tyler Luatua along with some other underclassmen.
“They’re not allowed to talk to Tyler,” said Moschetti. “The bottom line is they wanted to pop their head in the school and show how interested they are in Tyler. Not just Tyler, we have a couple other kids they’re interested in.
“We have a young 2015 quarterback, Kevin Dillman, who has nine offers. We have an offensive lineman in the Class of 2015, Anthony Cerillo, who already has an offer and we have a wide receiver in the Class of 2014, Dallis Todd. They’re all national recruits.”
But Kelly and Denbrock were the attraction in the La Mirada principal’s office.
“There were a lot of pictures being taken,” said Moschetti. “It was an exciting time there. Denbrock and Coach Kelly are class acts. Just talking to Coach Kelly and Coach Denbrock and them talking to our administration, the main focus was academics and how important it is.
“I was getting phone calls all day when people found out he was there. He was here probably 25, 30 minutes. After they left, there were all of these other people showing up trying to meet him.”
La Mirada has had 15 prospects sign letters of intent over the last five years, but Monday was the first time the school had a head coach on campus. “When it’s the Notre Dame head coach, it’s a big deal. The place shut down,” laughed Moschetti.
Moschetti has dealt with Denbrock a lot, but it was his first time meeting Kelly.
“You can see why he’s so successful,” Moschetti said. “He’s just so professional and has an unbelievable personality. The results speak for themselves. Everywhere he’s been, he’s won.”
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Luatua has a host of offers from schools like Notre Dame, USC, UCLA, Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska and Michigan among several others. He doesn’t say much, but the huge, gold ND on his folder later in the day said plenty, according to his coach.
“Tyler is a real humble and quiet kid,” said Moschetti. “He doesn’t like the whole recruiting process, he doesn’t like all of the phone calls, but he was really excited.
“It made a big impression and he was really excited. It made a big impression on all of the kids.”
Luatua is taking the process in stride.
“Coach Denbrock is going to come back next week,” his coach said. “I haven’t even really sat down with Tyler yet.
“He’s not one of those kids who’s going to announce on signing day and have eight hats. He’s not like that at all. He’s just taking it all in and learning more about each school and focusing on getting bigger and stronger and doing well academically.”