The four-star LB Niuafe Tuihalamaka heads to Notre-Dame – .

The four-star LB Niuafe Tuihalamaka heads to Notre-Dame – .

Mission Hills (Calif.) Linebacker Alemany Niuafe Tuihalamaka announced he would be playing his varsity ball at Notre Dame a few moments ago.

Notre Dame has always recruited well outside the SoCal area. It seems the Irish are still good at landing a player or two from the region every year and they’ve just taken on the hiring of one of the country’s top linebacker prospects.

“I am very excited about my commitment,” Tuihalamaka said. “I have always loved Notre Dame, even before they offered it to me, I still had a great deal of interest in them.

“As soon as they proposed to me, I knew I was going to visit them. I was there last weekend and it was everything I thought it would be. The combination of academics and football is really special there and everything suited me just fine. “

Tuihalamaka was an early engagement at USC, announcing for the Trojans in February of his sophomore year. Our Lady gave it to him last January and Tuihalamaka disengaged from the Trojans two days later.

“I felt like I signed up too early and it wasn’t a hit on USC,” Tuihalamaka said. “I got involved without taking any visits or even really speaking to so many schools. My family and I have always loved USC very much growing up, so when they came up with it, I got involved without weighing all of my options.

“Once I broke everything down and really looked at all the schools, Notre Dame jumped on me. My family has always appreciated academics and this degree is truly special and the networking opportunities are hard to beat. “

The Irish coaching team also played a major role.

“Coach (Brian) Polian was the one who came up with me and he always did a great job recruiting me,” Tuihalamaka said. “I also really like Coach Kelly and then when Marcus Freeman came on it really pushed Notre Dame over the top for me.

“He’s one of the best DCs in the country and I love the cut and the way they see me on defense. They see me as support from the inside and think I can come in and play right away. They want me to be ready to compete early and I will work as hard as possible to get there.

Tuihalamaka had narrowed his list to also include the state of Arizona, Oregon, Stanford and Texas. He made an official visit to Austin two weeks ago before heading to South Bend last weekend. He also unofficially visited USC on Thursday.

Tuihalamaka will be a four-year-old starter at Alemany and has a ton of long-term potential. He’s had a top-down junior season, but his cap as a linebacker who can stuff the race, play in space, reduce coverage and rush the quarterback makes him a very unique prospect.

He’s a fluid athlete who has always impressed on the 7v7 circuit, even though he has a game designed for the pads. When his engine is running there aren’t many linebackers with his full game and it should be fun to see him develop at South Bend.


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