'22 CA LB Niuafe Tuihalamaka (Notre Dame Signee)

Dale

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EARLY ENROLLEE

ILB
Mission Hills, CA
Bishop Alemany High School

9402113.jpg


Measurements
Height: 6’2 (Reported in Jan 2021)
Weight: 230 lbs (Reported in Jan 2021)
40: 5.06 secs (2/10/2019 Opening Result)

Thick build and could grow in to a defensive lineman by the time he hits a college field. Extremely physical player, natural inside ‘backer who loves to hit and plays with a nice edge to his game. An effective blitzer who can rush the passer off the edge or right up the gut. A high motor player who plays with relentless passion and is a natural leader. Needs to continue to work on his speed, change of direction and quickness but is a natural athlete and looks comfortable playing in space or dropping in coverage. Does a nice job getting off blocks and shows the ability to make plays sideline to sideline. Projects as an impact upper tier Power 5 starter and future mid-high round NFL draft pick. - Greg Biggins Scouting Report (10/19/2018)

Rankings
247: 93 Overall | #5 ILB - #9 CA - #78 Overall
Rivals: 5.9 Rating | #1 ILB - #9 CA - #65 Overall
ESPN: 85 Rating | #2 ILB - #7 CA - #76 Overall
247 Composite: 97 Overall | #3 ILB - #8 CA - #63 Overall

Offers
Arizona State
Arkansas
Florida
LSU
Nebraska
Notre Dame (1/21/2021)
Oregon
Oregon State
Penn State
Southern Cal (Committed - 2/4/2020 | Decommitted 1/23/2021)
Stanford
Tennessee
Texas
UCLA
Vanderbilt

Other

Highlights


Last Ranking/Offer Update: 1/23/2021
 
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Dale

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Offered 2 days ago, decommitted from USC today
 

Dale

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Friends with Chance Tucker, train together. Sounds like Manti fan so I’d expect Polian here.
 
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NewEnglandGuy

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Big turn of events #FreemanEffect

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">1 of The favorites for the 2021 Butkus award is 6‘2“ 235 LB Niuafe Tuihalamaka. I visited with him last year and came impressed with his quickness, strength, aggressiveness and attitude. Team leader with great focus. The Mission Hills Bishop Alemany star can do it all. <a href="https://t.co/MEEvkU8NdG">pic.twitter.com/MEEvkU8NdG</a></p>— Tom Lemming (@LemmingReport) <a href="https://twitter.com/LemmingReport/status/1352460834694455297?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 22, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="und" dir="ltr">🙏 <a href="https://t.co/MZzTnnMzJv">pic.twitter.com/MZzTnnMzJv</a></p>— Niuafe Junior Tuihalamaka (@JuniorNiuafe) <a href="https://twitter.com/JuniorNiuafe/status/1353052048615346176?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 23, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
 

NewEnglandGuy

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Friends with Chance Tucker, train together. Sounds like Manti fan so I’d expect Polian here.

Yea he has been quoted as growing up watching Manti and loves how ND plays everyone from the East coast, Midwest, and out West. The Polian win back in February 2009 continues to pay dividends. The entire Polynesian culture (which may land another top D player in Tafiti) in northern Indiana started then.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Wow! I am truly excited to say that I have received a(n) offer from <br>THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME!! ☘️<a href="https://twitter.com/BrianPolian?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BrianPolian</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/GregBiggins?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@GregBiggins</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/adamgorney?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@adamgorney</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/AlemanyFootball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AlemanyFootball</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/NDFootball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NDFootball</a> <a href="https://t.co/fZ9ZKIDERG">pic.twitter.com/fZ9ZKIDERG</a></p>— Niuafe Junior Tuihalamaka (@JuniorNiuafe) <a href="https://twitter.com/JuniorNiuafe/status/1352384612106833922?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 21, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
 

Luckylucci

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ND certainly has some momentum here. Will be interesting to see how fast this moves. I would think he needs to visit before it goes further. But who knows anymore
 

fightingirish26

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I like this more if he was offered on the DL rather than LB.

Still, we just stole USC's fucken lunch!!!!
 

Luckylucci

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He’s also long time friends with Jack Nickel.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">You know the move big dawg☘️☘️ <a href="https://t.co/qb2S29dtge">https://t.co/qb2S29dtge</a></p>— Jack Nickel (@JackNickel86) <a href="https://twitter.com/JackNickel86/status/1353053517456392193?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 23, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
 

NDIrish88

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He’s also long time friends with Jack Nickel.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">You know the move big dawg☘️☘️ <a href="https://t.co/qb2S29dtge">https://t.co/qb2S29dtge</a></p>— Jack Nickel (@JackNickel86) <a href="https://twitter.com/JackNickel86/status/1353053517456392193?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 23, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

What's the logistics on that?
 

dad4aa

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A couple if people have posted about him moving to DL. Do we really want a Butkus winner caliber LB to move to DL instead of staying at LB?
 

Cackalacky2.0

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A couple if people have posted about him moving to DL. Do we really want a Butkus winner caliber LB to move to DL instead of staying at LB?

If he can play on the edge and cover in space then why not?
 

stpeteirish

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Jimmy Clausen's bother Casey is Bishop Alemany's coach. Doubt if he's trying to steer NT to his dumpster fire alma mater (Tennessee)
 

fightingirish26

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A couple if people have posted about him moving to DL. Do we really want a Butkus winner caliber LB to move to DL instead of staying at LB?

There are some mobility concerns. We also have some extremely athletic LBs and should add more with Cheeks and possibly Devon Jackson. Tuihalamaka is extremely violent and has a rugby background. Already a big, well built kid. Botelho was listed as a LB prospect as well and I see them as similar prospects. Do wonder what that could mean for Tafiti if this guy hops on board. I'd take both.
 

Luckylucci

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There are some mobility concerns. We also have some extremely athletic LBs and should add more with Cheeks and possibly Devon Jackson. Tuihalamaka is extremely violent and has a rugby background. Already a big, well built kid. Botelho was listed as a LB prospect as well and I see them as similar prospects. Do wonder what that could mean for Tafiti if this guy hops on board. I'd take both.

And this is where I think rankings and ratings get people a little overzealous about certain guys. In today’s football, I’d have guys like Cheeks and Jackson rated ahead of him because of those mobility concerns. However, I also don’t see anything on tape that remotely resembles Botelho’s ability to rush the passer off an edge. So, I think what you have here is a low to mid 4 star Mike LB that will probably be more in the mold of Tevon Coney versus Drue Tranquill.

Coney was an uber productive, collegiate, Mike LB.
 
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Irish YJ

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And this is where I think rankings and ratings get people a little overzealous about certain guys. In today’s football, I’d have guys like Cheeks and Jackson rated ahead of him because of those mobility concerns. However, I also don’t see anything on tape that remotely resembles Botelho’s ability to rush the passer off an edge. So, I think what you have here is a low to mix 4 star Mike LB that will probably be more in the mold of Tevon Coney versus Drue Tranquill.

Coney was an uber productive, collegiate, Mike LB.

was thinking the exact same thing
 

NewEnglandGuy

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I like this more if he was offered on the DL rather than LB

Idk. Freeman seems to have injected life into the front 7 recruiting where the options now at DT, SDE, WDE, and OLB, are so good that Tuihalamaka at ILB makes the most sense.

First, current depth at ILB position.
In 2022 - Bauer 5th, Bertrand and Ekwonu Sr, Kia Soph.

Second, options at other positions
DT - Curry, Lucas, Artis + Hinish (unsure if they totally dropped Miles yet)
SDE - Ford + maybe Hamm, Bauman
WDE - Moss, Tafiti, Wesolak
OLB - Ziegler + Jackson, Cheeks, and new offers Perkins, Sneed, Barton and Freeman’s hometown kid Hicks

Patterson was a nice player, I’ll be cheering Lea on here to keep him in Nashville, but Niuafe is a much bigger fish.

Now if Freeman and Mickens can parlay this momentum to turn around the secondary roster weakness and current recruiting underdog status for 2 of Johnson, Everette, Nelson, Little, Gould, Martinez, Taylor, Pride. I like Barkate or Pope at safety as 2nd fiddle to Nwankpa - who might be the biggest “must get” of the secondary considering replacement recruits.
 

fightingirish26

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And this is where I think rankings and ratings get people a little overzealous about certain guys. In today’s football, I’d have guys like Cheeks and Jackson rated ahead of him because of those mobility concerns. However, I also don’t see anything on tape that remotely resembles Botelho’s ability to rush the passer off an edge. So, I think what you have here is a low to mid 4 star Mike LB that will probably be more in the mold of Tevon Coney versus Drue Tranquill.

Coney was an uber productive, collegiate, Mike LB.

Coney comp isn't bad and who wouldn't like another TC. I just like the idea of guys like Kiser and Cheeks being the future at Mike. Why not get as much speed on the field as possible?
 

Luckylucci

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Coney comp isn't bad and who wouldn't like another TC. I just like the idea of guys like Kiser and Cheeks being the future at Mike. Why not get as much speed on the field as possible?

Understood and I agree to a certain point. But, taking him at LB doesn’t stop either of those guys from playing Mike should they be better fits there in Freeman’s scheme. We didn’t take any LB’s in 20’ and only 2 in 21’ but it’s really just 1 as Kia will be leaving when these guys show up. 3-4 LB’s in this class should be expected. Cheeks will have a spot and I would think even Jackson does as well.

Here is how I look at this. It’s a high floor type of player due to him already being so physically developed and it will provide insane recruiting buzz should it happen. Seems like a no brainer risk/reward. And, it shouldn’t limit us from taking the other guys we want.
 

fightingirish26

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Understood and I agree to a certain point. But, taking him at LB doesn’t stop either of those guys from playing Mike should they be better fits there in Freeman’s scheme. We didn’t take any LB’s in 20’ and only 2 in 21’ but it’s really just 1 as Kia will be leaving when these guys show up. 3-4 LB’s in this class should be expected. Cheeks will have a spot and I would think even Jackson does as well.

Here is how I look at this. It’s a high floor type of player due to him already being so physically developed and it will provide insane recruiting buzz should it happen. Seems like a no brainer risk/reward. And, it shouldn’t limit us from taking the other guys we want.

That's fair. I still personally think he's an intriguing option at DL due to his violent nature but why not let him prove he's got the instincts to be too good to keep off the field at Mike.
 

stpeteirish

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That's fair. I still personally think he's an intriguing option at DL due to his violent nature but why not let him prove he's got the instincts to be too good to keep off the field at Mike.

and that 5.03 forty won't cut it at LB. I'm sure its improved but by how much? If he's a 4.8 the DL is probably where he ends up.
 

Irish YJ

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and that 5.03 forty won't cut it at LB. I'm sure its improved but by how much? If he's a 4.8 the DL is probably where he ends up.

I think he ran that a year ago, and was 10lbs heavier.

I also recall some write ups (there's one in this thread) talking about his quickness from Lemming.

In short, at 6-3 and 230ish, and looking nasty, I think you just take him, and figure it out later when he gets to school in 2022. If he leans up more and gains speed, keep him at LB. If he widens/thickens, move him to DL. His legs and arms look think, but chest isn't real big. I'm guessing he might have had some bad weight early HS, and is trying to move things around. He could easily stack 15-20lbs on just in chest and back.
 

rtrn2glory

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Fun news to chat about on a weekend... Gotta like the fact he decommitted so quick
 

Luckylucci

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That's fair. I still personally think he's an intriguing option at DL due to his violent nature but why not let him prove he's got the instincts to be too good to keep off the field at Mike.

It’s all about projection so it’ll be interesting to follow. But, just off his Sophomore film I just don’t see anything that translates to a ROLB. He’s not an overly long or twitchy guy. And, he has virtually no film of him playing the position. There is so much more projection needed to expect him to play there than being a solid, if unspectacular, Mike LB.

In Botelho’s case he actually played a significant amount of his HS career as a ROLB. So, you could see how his game, even with the lack of ideal length, could translate to that Vyper position. I also think you could see some of that twitchiness.
 

arrowryan

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While I agree that college football offenses are requiring linebackers to be able to cover and play in space, there are still offenses on Notre Dame's schedule that would make it nice to have an old school linebacker like this guy.

For example, I'd feel much more comfortable with this guy playing against Stanford than someone like Cheeks.
 

Irish YJ

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It’s all about projection so it’ll be interesting to follow. But, just off his Sophomore film I just don’t see anything that translates to a ROLB. He’s not an overly long or twitchy guy. And, he has virtually no film of him playing the position. There is so much more projection needed to expect him to play there than being a solid, if unspectacular, Mike LB.

In Botelho’s case he actually played a significant amount of his HS career as a ROLB. So, you could see how his game, even with the lack of ideal length, could translate to that Vyper position. I also think you could see some of that twitchiness.

LL - in general, doesn't Freeman play a mix-ish of 4-3 and 3-4?.

If so, I can easily see him playing early down Mike in a 4-3, and even more ILB in a 3-4.
 

Dale

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Reminder that’s a Sophomore film we’re watching. No Junior film to show development yet
 

Luckylucci

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LL - in general, doesn't Freeman play a mix-ish of 4-3 and 3-4?.

If so, I can easily see him playing early down Mike in a 4-3, and even more ILB in a 3-4.

At Cincy he was certainly multiple with his fronts including LB’s. That 18stripes article did a good job of explaining that his ‘heavy’ package with a 4 man front often includes 3 traditional LB’s. So, a SAM LB instead of a Sniper or S. However, that wasn’t used all that often. Could that change as he may face more power oriented teams at ND? Sure. Do I think it would become a base? Probably not.
 
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