Irish offer surprises 4-star DT

Four-star defensive tackle Marlon Tuipulotu has been focused on wrestling season for weeks. That hasn’t kept his recruitment from taking off. Notre Dame continued a recent run of offers that had been more focused on the West Coast.

Marlon Tuipulotu hasn't thought much about his recruitment, even as it’s started to take a different shape.

Scholarship offers have continued to pour for the four-star defensive tackle from Independence, Ore., while he remains zeroed in on wrestling season. Tuipulotu is 43-1 this season on the mat and has qualified for the state tournament while wrestling in the heavyweight division.

Winning has been great, although Tuipulotu is more worried about football dividends. 

“That’s the main reason why I wrestle,” Tuipulotu said. “It’s to get me better at football. It helps with balance, hand movement and all this stuff — leverage.”

But even with his attention elsewhere, Tuipulotu has seen his recruitment expand out of the Pac 12 region.

Notre Dame recently joined an offer list that includes Boise State, BYU, Cal, Iowa State, Nebraska, Oregon, Oregon State, USC, Utah, Washington and Washington State. Michigan has also been expressing some interest.

Tuipulotu hadn’t been hearing much from the Irish before the offer came.

“I was surprised really,” Tuipulotu said. “I hadn’t really been in contact with them like that. I just met them up on Twitter. I called them and that’s when they told me they were offering a scholarship.”

Tuipulotu is still familiarizing himself with the program but does know some about the coaching staff and would like to visit.

“I know a little bit about their coaching staff with Brian Kelly,” Tuipulotu said. “He’s a really good football coach. They have a really good football program and their education is really high. That’s pretty much it.”

Tuipulotu has already visited Oregon, Oregon State and Washington. He’d like to see those regional programs again plus make stops at UCLA, USC and Washington State.

Official visits come fall are also a possibility.

“That’s a goal of mine to get out to most of the schools that have offered and see what the places are like,” said Tuipulotu, who’s ranked the No. 261 prospect overall in the latest Scout300.

More new offers could also change the plan. Tuipulotu might not have expected offers from such far flung programs begin showing up, but he’s pleased with the results.

“I’m really humbled about it and thankful for it,” he said. “I’m really excited about these other schools outside the West offering me. It’s really good. They said they like the use of my hands pretty much. They like how I use them.”


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