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Notre Dame 99-to-0: No. 44 Junior Tuihalamaka, early-enrolled freshman linebacker, consensus four-star recruit

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Measurements listed: 6ft 2, 229 lbs.
2022-23 Eligibility: Tuihalamaka, who entered his freshman year early, had all four seasons of eligibility remaining.
Depth Chart: A year ago, Notre Dame was struggling for linebacker depth. Now, that should be enough to keep the heralded freshman recruiting course from two deep, with fifth-year Bo Bauer and senior. JD Bertrand both are likely ahead of Tuihalamaka in the middle midfield position (Mike).
Recruiting: Tuihalamaca made a commitment to USC before the pandemic cut all recruitment, and that pledge has stood for nearly a year. The Irish then offered the Southern California product a scholarship and he quickly resumed hiring, but Tuihalamaka did not contact Notre Dame for several months afterward, waiting until he could even visit South Bend.

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After this happened in June 2021, shortly after the dead period caused by the pandemic ended, Tuihalamaka made commitments to work with the Irish in Texas, Stanford and Arizona, and received offers from more than half of the Pac 12 , LSU and Penn State.

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8th inside midfielder in the class and 206th player overall, according to the rivals website. com, he was the third midfielder to join the team. Marcus Freemanrecruiting class in Freeman’s only cycle as Notre Dame defensive coordinator and linebacker coach.

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It’s a testament to both Tuihalamaca’s Southern California roots and his wide-ranging talent that he was an example cited by Freeman when discussing the types of players the Irish need to pursue more aggressively.

“I don’t know if (halfback) Jaylen Snead and some of those guys were dying to come to Notre Dame until you told them, “Hey, here’s what Notre Dame can really do for you,” Freeman said in December. “Hey Junior (Tuihalamaca), here’s what Notre Dame can do for you that will change the rest of your life.”

“So for me it’s the ability to just try to get inside their head. “How can I communicate this so they can see what makes Notre Dame different?”

Someone needs to replace Troy Polamala in the Head & Shoulders commercial, right?

“Tuihalamaka has been college ready since he was a sophomore in high school, but he also has the athleticism to handle some lighting work. …

“Because current freshman Kahuna Kia still has to go on a two-year mission, there will be a hole in the depth chart behind Bertrand. Tuihalamaka’s body will be ready for this responsibility sooner than most elementary school students.

Tuihalamaka’s early enlistment paid more dividends than most, allowing him to score plenty of second-string snaps in middle line behind Bauer as Bertrand recovered from a wrist injury. And Tuihalamaka impressed with these opportunities.

Just not enough to suggest that he would jump over any of the veterans.

Instead, Tuihalamaka will probably find a situational defensive role, reducing the burden on Bauer and Bertrand while also allowing him to focus on a single niche skill. It could be a sprint, or perhaps hitting a runner’s coverage area. Former Irish midfielder Shane Simon for the first time shone alone on the goal line. Whatever it is, Tuihalamaka has made it clear this spring that he has the physical strength and speed to handle it.

Along with that, expect Tuihalamaka to cover nearly every Notre Dame start this season. That alone could get him 8-10 tackles.

Bauer’s record-breaking career will come to an end in 2022, with Tuihalamaka staying behind to ensure Bertrand doesn’t tire of the many snaps. And then Bertrand’s career should end in 2023.

Tuihalamaka’s path to playing time and then to a starting role is so clear. It became apparent this spring that he wasn’t going to be physically overwhelmed, quite a statement from a player who had to worry about his high school civics GCSE.

RELATED READING: Former USC midfielder Niuafe Tuihalamaka heads to Notre Dame
Inside the unique backdrop of Niuafe Tuihalamaka

From Blake Groupe to Braden Lenzi, the off-season countdown begins anew
No. 99 Blake Group, kicker, transfer of the State of Arkansas
No. 99 Riley Mills, junior guard, player who now plays more in the end.

#98 Tyson Ford, early freshman, quarterback hired as a four-star endgame.
No. 97 Gabriel Rubio, sophomore, quarterback, still “wide like a Volkswagen.”
No. 92 Aidan Keanaaina, a young defender who tore his cruciate ligament in March.
#91 Josh Bryan Sophomore Kicker
#91 Aiden Gobaira, Freshman Early Enrollment Guard, Four-Star Recruit
No. 90 Alexander Ehrensberger, junior defender, the German project is nearing completion.
No. 88 Mitchell Evans, sophomore tight end
No. 87 Michael Mayer Jr. Tight End, Likely All-American
No. 85 Holden Stace New Rookie Tight End
No. 84 Kevin Bauman, Jr. Tight End
#83 Jayden Thomas, Sophomore Receiver, Four-Star Former Rookie
#80 Kane Burrong, sophomore who suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
No. 79 Tosh Baker, one of four young Irish strikers.
#78 Pat Coogan, sophomore at center, recovering from a meniscus injury.
No. 77 Tai Chan, offensive tackle starter, former four-star rookie.
No. 76 Joe Alt, Sophomore, Beginning Left Tackle
#75 Josh Lagg, year six, offensive lineman, likely starting right back.
#74 Billy Shrout, early enrolled forward freshman after foot surgery.
#73 Andrew Christophic, senior forward turned defenseman.
#72 Caleb Johnson Sophomore Offensive, Former Auburn Bail
No. 68 Michael Carmody, junior offensive line mate.
No. 65 Michael Vinson, Long Bass, “Milk”
#65 Chris Smith Defensive Tackle Harvard Transfer
No. 59 Aamil Wagner, an established four-star freshman forward.
No. 58 Ashton Craig New Freshman Center
#57 Jason Ademilola, fifth-year quarterback, after shoulder surgery.
#56 Joey Tanona, early-listed hitter with a concussion.
No. 56 Howard Cross, senior quarterback with heavy hands, and that’s good.
No. 55 Jarret Patterson, Year Five Offensive Linesman, Three Year Starting Center, Captain
No. 54 Jacob Lacy, senior quarterback, is now lighter and in the starting lineup.
#54 Blake Fischer, Sophomore, Starting Right Tackle, “Huge”
No. 52 Zeke Correll Senior Center or Possibly Left Back
No. 52 Bo Bauer, Fifth Year Linebacker, Ironman
No. 50 Rocco Spindler Sophomore Shooting Guard
#48 Will Schweitzer Sophomore Turned Linebacker
No. 47 Jason Oin, Sophomore, Defensive Tackle
#41 Donovan Hinish, freshman starting quarterback, Kurt’s brother.
#9 Eli Raridon, Rookie Freshman, tight end with an ACL tear.


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