One big difference between college football and the NFL is how they get their players. For the NFL looking ahead to roster spots for a season a year ahead is almost unheard of. No NFL franchise makes a move looking to a prospect a year away. College on the other hand is always looking ahead. Teams are already getting verbal commitments from high school juniors for the class of 2014. It’s never too early to plan, and a lot of the moves a team makes now is based on who they signed or did not sign in 2013. That’s certainly the case for the Oklahoma Sooners who went through the 2013 recruiting season without signing a single tight end. So, looking ahead to 2014, a key target for the Sooners could be La Mirada HS product Tyler Luatua, who’s one of the top at his position in the country as a junior.
The Sooners tight end position is one that hasn’t been utilized to a great degree in the past few seasons, but with possible changes coming to how this offense will look, the potential addition of an elite tight end prospect like Luatua is an exciting proposition. As it stands now the only returning tight end on the roster with any real experience is Brannon Green and while he’s a solid player and fan favorite he doesn’t strike fear in opposing defenses.
Luatua is a a physical specimen at 6-4 and 230lbs, and room to grow. He nearly doubled his production from his sophomore to junior seasons and finished 2012 with 43 catches for 594 yards and 8 touchdowns. And this is keeping in mind that he is not targeted nearly as often as you would think a player like him would be. However, I expect his number of targets to continue to go up in his senior season, as he’s just too potent a weapon not to include more heavily in the offense. And this doesn’t even take into consideration that Luatua is also a 5 star prospect at linebacker, so regardless of which side of the football he settles on, he’s going to be a disruptive force.
Of all the 2014 prospects that are on the Sooners radar Luatua is one of the most fascinating. He has the look of a player who could really influence a passing game in a way that the Sooners haven’t had since Jermaine Gresham was in Norman back in 2008.