Great recruiting classes can be a double edged sword. Of course, on one side of the sword is the combination of good starters backed up by quality depth. On the other side is the loss of playing time as a pitch to future recruits. To be sure there are some programs, like Alabama, that seem to load up in every recruiting class. Alabama and other schools like Texas, Florida and Ohio State possess the luxury of being located in football hotbeds filled with recruits that have dreamed their entire lives of playing football for the local school. In that situation, quality depth is easier to recruit because lack of playing time generally does not have the same effect. Notre Dame does not have that luxury so they must work harder to sell other aspects of the university and the football program.
In the Class of 2013, the Irish already have a verbal commitment from one tight end and one running back. However, both are positions that Notre Dame likes to use multiple players so the fact that they’re heavily recruiting other players at those positions shouldn’t come as a surprise. Last week Irish Sports Daily reported on the recruitment of two very talented players, one at tight end and one at running back. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Sports Daily?
Last year, the Irish frequently used multiple tight end sets in order to create mismatches with opposing defenses. The loss of first round NFL draft pick Tyler Eifert shouldn’t change that philosophy this year. Even with the loss of Eifert, Notre Dame brings back a talented group of tight ends in Troy Niklas, Ben Koyack, Alex Welch and true freshmen Mike Heuerman and Durham Smythe. The Irish have already received the verbal commitment of Nic Weishar in the class of 2014 and would love to add Tyler Luatua. Luatua, TE, 6-4, 230, La Mirada High School, La Mirada, CA is very high on Notre Dame according to his head coach, Mike Moschetti. A veritable parade of Irish coaches has been to La Mirada high school in recent weeks to check on his talented tight end. Most recently, West Coast recruiter Mike Denbrock and Tight Ends Coach Scott Booker stopped by.
“It went really, really good,” said Moschetti. “Tyler is really excited and he’s really high on Notre Dame.”
Luatua (pictured) currently holds offers from a who’s who of college football’s elite programs. Besides Notre Dame, schools like Alabama, USC, Oklahoma, Florida State, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, UCLA, Tennessee and Washington have stepped to the table. Notre Dame’s stood out because they have made him such a priority.
“They love his physicality and his athleticism,” Moschetti said. “What people don’t realize with the tight end position is the more tight ends the better. If you can get two or three tight ends on the field at once, it makes defenses that much more vulnerable.”
Luatua has demonstrated his legitimate interest in Notre Dame by already scheduling an official visit for next year’s USC game.
“He set an official, so he’s going to come out for the USC game,” Moschetti informed. “He’s actually going to come out with a kid from Long Beach Poly, Juju Smith. Tyler and Juju are very close, so they’re going to come together.”
Besides Notre Dame, Luatua has listed Ohio State, USC, Michigan and Alabama as his favorites. However, the Irish visit is the only one that he has set thus far.
“The only one that is set in stone is Notre Dame, that’s a sure thing,” said his head coach. “I think his mom and dad are also going to go out for that game. That’s going to be really exciting. It’s a night game against USC in South Bend.”
“It’s going to be exciting for the family. Mom and dad are really excited. They love Notre Dame for the academics, they love how they utilize the tight end and Notre Dame has done a great job recruiting these kids.”
In addition to Luatua, the Irish also offered a scholarship to his teammate, wide receiver Dallis Todd. Todd has since made a verbal commitment to Oklahoma. Additionally, the Irish have already extended a scholarship offer to La Mirada 2015 recruit, quarterback Kevin Dillman.
Luatua has not set a timetable for a decision, but as of right now he plans to take all of his official visits before deciding. Of course recruitniks know that could change but regardless of whether he takes visits or not, Notre Dame is clearly near the top of his list.
“Going into it, he wanted to take some trips and see some schools, but Notre Dame is really, really high on his list,” said Moschetti.
Last year the Irish showed that they have no qualms about taking two elite running backs when they signed both Tarean Folston and Greg Bryant. This year they already have a verbal commitment from top running back prospect Elijah Hood but that hasn’t stopped them from pursuing Derrell Scott. Scott, RB, 5-11, 180, Havelock High School, Havelock, NC is an outstanding prospect and no one is more cognizant of that fact than his head coach, Jim Bob Bryant.
“I guess he’s the number one ranked all-purpose back in the country by some folks,” stated Bryant.
Scott’s offer sheet clear shows that college coaches agree with that assessment. Besides Notre Dame he currently holds scholarship offers from North Carolina, North Carolina State, Duke, South Carolina, Clemson, Tennessee, Florida State, Arkansas, Miami, Ohio State and Vanderbilt among others. He lists Notre Dame as one of his favorites along with South Carolina, Florida State, Ohio State and Clemson.
“Notre Dame is one of the most storied football programs in the country,” stated Bryant. “Without taking a trip out there, obviously he wants to take a trip out there and see what the campus is like. I think playing in the BCS National Championship Game didn’t hurt.”
Scott hopes to make it to South Bend but has not yet set up that trip. He’s tentatively made summer plans but nothing is definite for now.
“We’re still trying to figure out where he’s going and what trips we’re going to take him on this summer,” said Bryant.
Havelock hopes to put together a trip this summer that will give them the opportunity to showcase some of their players to multiple colleges. As of now, the coach is undecided if Notre Dame will be on that list.
“We haven’t made a Notre Dame decision yet,” stated Bryant. “We’re going to try to.”
If the summer visit doesn’t pan out, Scott hopes to take an official visit to South Bend in the fall unless some program just blows him away prior to that visit. While Bryant doesn’t know what his star will ultimately decide upon as a destination, he does know that whoever earns his signature on signing day will be getting not just a great football player but also a great person.
“He’s not just a good player who doesn’t work at his craft,” explained Bryant. “He’s a great kid. He gets good grades, a good Christian kid, a good family. He’s kind of a coach’s dream to have that much talent and be as good of a kid as he is.”
These two summaries represent just a sample of the Notre Dame football recruiting information available each week on Irish Sports Daily.