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Thursday, September 19, 2013
Where does No. 1 TE Luatua land?

By Brad Bournival

Tyler Luatua (La Mirada, Calif./La Marida) is starting to narrow down his choices and has three official visits lined up so far.

He’s not one to brag or really go that much in depth about his recruiting, but the fact he has Alabama, Notre Dame and Ohio State already scheduled shows just how high the interest is in those schools.

While there are two more officials to set up, the Crimson Tide, Fighting Irish and Buckeyes are ready to roll out the red carpet for the ESPN 300 senior -- he’s ranked 68th overall and is the No. 1 tight end at the H-position.

Here is a look at all three schools and why each makes sense for the 6-foot-3, 243-pound Luatua:

Ohio State (official visit set for weekend of Sept. 27): He’s a west coast kid and the Buckeyes’ future at that position has a California feel with freshman Marcus Baugh (Riverside, Calif./John W. North) already on the Ohio State roster. It’s a 50-minute drive from La Marida to Riverside, so there’s little to no doubt the feeling of being isolated so far from home would be a problem because Luatua would have someone to relate to. Add that to the fact he could learn under Jeff Heuerman, Nick Vannett and J.T. Moore, and the Buckeyes aren’t out of the picture. Meyer isn’t a stranger to getting tight ends to the NFL either.

Notre Dame (Oct. 25): Just in case you think tight ends don’t put up sexy numbers, Tyler Eifert logged 140 receptions for 1,840 yards and scored 11 touchdowns for the Fighting Irish before becoming a Cincinnati Bengal. With very good size and a frame that makes him an easy target, Luatua could slip right into the role and prosper. He has great ball skills and is a promising blocker as well. With senior Alex Welch and juniors Troy Niklas and Ben Koyack exiting either before or shortly after Luatua would set foot on campus, playing time might be the Notre Dame’s best argument.

Alabama (Nov. 8): First off, let’s not ignore the elephant in the room. The fact Tyler’s older brother, Isaac, is an offensive guard for Crimson Tide is something Alabama could play up big time. Isaac is a redshirt sophomore and appears on the depth chart. The fact freshmen O.J. Howard and Brandon Greene sit behind junior Brian Vogler could be an issue, but it likely gets negated by the fact that Tyler's big brother is already on campus. Add three national championships in the last four years and one of the best coaches, if not the best coach, in the nation in Nick Saban and it would be hard to turn down Alabama.