Position: Tight End
Location: La Mirada (Calif.)
Weight: 250 pounds
Recruiting: Last Spring, Luatua was considered a heavy lean to Alabama. Not quite a lock, but pretty close to it. The Irish did an incredible job making up ground and they did it by recruiting him harder than anyone else. Credit Coach Denbrock, who built a great relationship with not just Luatua, but the whole La Marida staff. He nearly committed to the Irish on his official visit but took the official visit to ‘Bama to see his older brother Isaac. At that point in his recruitment, this was already a done deal and the tight end went ahead and announced on his birthday for Notre Dame.
What to Like: Luatua has a great frame and is very athletic. He put on at least 20 pounds of muscle in the off-season and still can move as good as he ever has. He’s a natural pass catcher, doesnb’t fight the football and has a wide catch radius. He’s not just a red zone threat but someone who can stretch the field and make the tough catch in traffic.
What may be of concern: At the next level, Luatua is going to have to turn up his motor a bit. He can coast at times against lesser competition but that won’t fly at a school like Notre Dame. Although physically gifted, Luatua doesn’t always play hard or impact the game on either side of the ball that his natural talent would dictate. The Irish coaches will have to work hard on improving his toughness and if motivated, there’s no doubt he has the ability to be a major impact player for them.
Overall Analysis: In terms of raw talent, Luatua is probably the most gited tight end in the country. It’s his intangibles like passion, toughness and just playing with a consistent effort that need to be monitored. He could be a boom or bust type player- a future 1st round pick, or somewhere who doesn’t see the field, it’s all up to him.