The signature Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa sent to Notre Dame’s recruiting office Wednesday afternoon didn’t carry the same cache as did the program’s previous signing day steal from the Hawaiian Islands.
That was 2009 five-star prospect and eventual program legend Manti Te’o.
This is a six-foot four-inch, 270-pound rising prospect capable of helping Notre Dame’s new defense at two positions of perennial need: defensive end and/or defensive tackle.
Defensive line coach and Notre Dame recruiting coordinator Mike Elston spoke shortly after Tagovailoa-Amosa pledged Irish, offering that his incoming freshman’s size and versatility could help augment the Irish at either position.
“That’s for Coach (Mike) Elko to decide,” said Elston of the program’s new defensive coordinator. “But he’s light enough on his feet to play outside and (strong) enough to play the interior.”
Instrumental in the recruitment of Tagovailoa-Amosa was special teams coordinator Brian Polian. In his second stint with the program, Polian landed Te’o nine cycles past – that after extensive time commitment and trips to win a National Signing Day pledge over USC.
Polian’s time spent with Tagovailoa-Amosa ranks as the polar opposite.
“We made the decision to take a trip out there and I went out just to see if we could get in the mix,” Polian told Irish Illustrated. “After having spent some time with the young man’s family, I called back and I told coach Elston and everybody else, ‘Hey, I don’t know if we’re gonna get him, but I think we can.’
“He just has that “It factor” that you know if this is what he wanted, he had the courage to do it…Then it just all kind of fell into place and all credit to the young man and his parents, because they felt in the their heart it was right and they had the courage to do it.”
Polian admitted that his work with the Tagovailoa-Amosa was gratifying “on a personal level” because it meant he made a contribution to the class despite his late arrival to the staff.
“I didn’t want to be the guy eating bagels in his office all month,” Polian joked.
A three-star prospect per Scout.com Rivals.com but with four stars affixed from 24/7 Sports, Tagovailoa-Amosa impressed Polian and the Irish when it was most relevant:
His senior season.
“I think Power 5 (Conference) programs sometimes neglect that players improve greatly as seniors,” Polian offered. “We tend to get stuck in our initial evaluations but so many kids (surge) as seniors.”
Notre Dame targeted Tagovailoa-Amosa late in the process but he quickly became a chief priority. Both Elston and Elko, as well as head coach Brian Kelly, left the recruiting trail to meet with Tagovailoa-Amosa on campus during his brief visit in January.
He joins a class of 21 that includes four-star signee Darnell Ewell plus three star interior prospect Kurt Hinish up front, as well as three-star defensive end Jonathan MacCollister and the class’s final addition, three-star defensive end and pass-rushing prospect, Kofi Wardlow.