Already one of the most highly recruited players in the country for the class of 2014 is La Mirada (Calif.) high school tight end Tyler Luatua. A rare combination of size, speed, physicality and hands, Luatua is asked to move around a lot at La Mirada under his head coach Mike Moschetti, a former West Michigan Whitecaps player and Colorado quarterback.
"Tyler's a kid that's around 6'4 around 235, 240, and when his hand is down and we run a power -- we run right behind him—and he's just nasty, mean and physical at the point of attack," Moschetti told GoBlueWolverine. "Plus, if I split him out at receiver he's just a mismatch problem. He's big, he's athletic, and he can run by people."
"It's hard to find a tight end that can do both of those."
Physicality and good football genes run in the Luatua family. Luatua's older brother, Issac, is currently a redshirt freshman offensive lineman at Alabama. Similar to his brother's recruitment, his eventual decision will be all up to him – and that doesn't mean it's going to be Alabama.
"He's a kid that's not afraid," said Moschetti of Tyler Luatua. "Distance isn't going to be a factor in his recruitment. His brother was heavily recruited -- I coached his brother three years ago -- heavily recruited by UCLA, whole family is in Southern California … and for him to sign with Alabama, which -- in the last five years -- you could probably name on one hand how many West Coast kids have signed with a school in the SEC, but he did it."
"But in saying that that doesn't mean Tyler's going to Alabama. They're not like that at all. His brother wants him to feel comfortable and find a school that fits him, and he kind of leaves him alone."
Although Luatua is tight lipped when it comes to his recruitment, he did divulge a short list of schools he's very interested in at this point.
"He's the type of kid where I've asked him what he's thinking and where he's at with schools," said Moschetti. "He finally came out and actually named five schools that he's really interested in -- the first school was Michigan… Notre Dame, Ohio State, Alabama and USC."
Michigan's special teams coach and tight end coach Dan Ferrigno stopped by La Mirada last week, leaving a favorable impression on coach Moschetti.
"He's got big time personality," said Moschetti. "When he walks into a room and there's six or seven people, he's just the life of the room. And that's tough. I've had a lot of coaches come through La Mirada. And some coaches, we kind of sit there and myself or principal or athletic director have to keep the conversations going, but coach Ferrigno -- when he came in -- we all just sat back and talked and he made us laugh."
Moschetti, who says former Michigan wide receiver Russell Shaw is "somewhat of a legend" in southern California, knew it was a big deal when the Wolverines arrived on their campus.
"You could see him as he walked onto the campus and he has that shirt with the Maize and Blue -- people stop, it's a pretty powerful thing -- and Michigan is very powerful. But he's doing a heck of a job recruiting Tyler. He coached Tony Gonzalez, probably the top tight end in the history of football."
Moschetti and Ferrigno spent a lot of time discussing Michigan's plan for Luatua, something that would make for an easy transition based on the style of offense La Mirada employs.
"Tyler is another kid that wants to play in an NFL type of west coast offense, cause that's his fit," said Moschetti. "He's a west coast offense guy. That's what we do at La Mirada. We move him around and run a lot of boots, some waggles, and run a lot of option routes."
"We studied Michigan film and he (coach Ferrigno) was like, ‘Tyler will have his hand down, we'll split him out and motion him out of the backfield,' and that fits Tyler to a T."
While Luatua is keeping his recruitment as close to the vest as possible, his coach says Michigan is right up there for FOXSportsNEXT.com's No. 1 rated tight end—and a visit to Ann Arbor is in the works.
"Tyler is really high on Michigan -- on the staff, the school, the city," said Moschetti. "We have nothing but respect for Michigan and he's really excited about Michigan recruiting him."
"He did say that one of his officials would be Michigan. They did talk about Tyler coming up this summer for an unofficial, so that's a possibility and hopefully we can make that happen. But definitely he did say he would take one of his officials to Michigan. I mean, who wouldn't want to take an official to Michigan?"
With over a calendar year until a decision has to be made, Luatua is taking the process slow, looking to improve himself on and off the field above anything else.
"In the past he played a lot of basketball, and this year he quit playing basketball and he changed his diet," said Moschetti.
"He's a real quiet kid that's just focused on academics and trying to get bigger, faster, and stronger in the weight room. As humble of a kid as I've ever been around."
#1 TE in 2014 "really high" on Michigan
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