The quarterback almost scratched the Irish Invasion stop, but when he showed well at last week’s Sound Mind, Sound Body camp outside Detroit he caught the attention of the Notre Dame staff, who urged him to attend.
“I just got back from the Midwest,” said LaBruna, a 6-foot-2, 210-pounder from Corona, Calif. “I wasn’t trying to go up there if they weren’t trying to offer. I called coach (Mike) Sanford and he said that they are really interested. They want to see what I can do in the first three games of the season. That’s a big part of it but they want to see me throw in person because they saw me throw at Sound Mind, Sound Body and liked what they saw. They want me to come back.”
LaBruna had planned to spend the weekend with his Eleanor Roosevelt High School teammates at the UCLA 7-on-7 tournament. Instead, he’ll fly to South Bend on Thursday, camp on Friday and spend some time on Saturday with the Irish coaching staff. He’ll make it home in time to compete at UCLA on Sunday.
At Sound Mind, Sound Body, which Brian Kelly attended, LaBruna worked with two of Notre Dame’s top recruiting targets in Osiris and Amon-Ra St. Brown.
“I talked to coach Sanford about that,” LaBruna said. “He just walked up to me and said, ‘Hey, you look good.’ The St. Brown boys, Osiris and Amon-Ra, we were just linking up and throwing together. He wanted to know if we had a connection.”
LaBruna also heard from Irish coaches Bob Elliott and Scott Booker.
“Coach Elliott, I just talked to him and said what’s up. Coach Booker, he trained Troy Niklas and he’s my neighbor, so we did talk for a while,” LaBruna said. “Coach Sanford is the main guy recruiting me. I talked to Brian Kelly for a little bit too. He just asked how school was going and stuff like that.”
LaBruna grew up in the Catholic school system but transferred to Eleanor Roosevelt for his junior season, which was cut short by an injury. Still, he threw for 1,600 yards and 14 touchdowns in just six games.
Several college programs have shown interest but LaBruna is still waiting for his first offer.
“Right now it’s just a waiting game,” he said. “I’ve put so much time and effort into it. I’m just waiting for one to roll in. I think Utah State and Indiana, Illinois, Purdue, I went to Purdue’s pad camp, so I think one should come in soon.”
LaBruna also felt good about his performances at the Utah State and Indiana camps.
“I think Utah State is going to pull the trigger,” he said. “I just went up to their full pad camp last week with another receiver. We went up and we just killed the camp. I think I had two incompletions the whole camp. I went to Indiana and did the same thing. I was throwing against a guy who has an offer from LSU. He was at the full pad camp at Indiana. I just tore him up. “
While he waits for that first offer, LaBruna will remain focused on improving as a quarterback.
“I’m just going to keep on working,” he said. “I’m not going to let anybody stop me. I’m going to work and I understand that quarterback is a different position. Sometimes they can just offer a receiver off a 7-on-7 or whatnot but quarterback, that makes or breaks a team. They’re taking their time and I’m respecting that.”