The Notre Dame Football program kicked off official visits just last week, and the staff landed one of its first visitors, and one of their most coveted players in the class, 2022 linebacker out of California Niuafe “Junior” Tuihalamaka.
Junior was a former Southern Cal commit who was a pledge for almost a year. That all changed when Junior visited campus and was offered by the Irish. He de-committed from USC two days later after that offer came.
From there, Notre Dame seemed to be a huge favorite to eventually land him. After some visits, and taking an official visit to Texas, and then Notre Dame this past weekend, it was a wrap. The staff laid it all out for Junior, and it was officially time to make it public, committing Saturday afternoon on his Dad’s birthday.
At the moment, Junior holds 20 offers from the likes of Florida, Penn State, Oregon, and many others.
The 6’2 240-pound linebacker is going to bring physicality first and foremost to South Bend. He’s a bruiser and isn’t afraid to knock someone down, that’s for sure. Tell me if you haven’t heard this before about a Hawaiian football player, but he plays with a fierce edge to him that brings out an intimating factor about his style of play.
He’s definitely more of an inside linebacker because those attribute favor just that. If he adds a ton of mass and strength, I wouldn’t rule him out as an edge rusher down the road, so there’s some flexibility there for him.
His ability to get off blocks is noticeable as well and obviously, his love for the game shows big time. Defensive Coordinator Marcus Freeman really wanted Junior from the start and he got his guy and more.
He’s a great fit not just for the football team but the university as a whole and I can’t wait to see him continue to grow under the program.
With “Junior” making his commitment now public the Irish class has 15 commits with eight now on defense and seven on the offensive side. He will be joining 6’4 220 pounds Joshua Burnham and 6’4 215 pound Nolan Ziegler in the linebacker room and I expect that trio to add another member to that group and hopefully soon.
Stay locked in Irish fans because summer is only just beginning for this recruiting class.
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