Local safety Paul Moala commits to Notre Dame

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame brought recruits in from all over the country for its big recruiting weekend for the USC game.

But the first commitment to come following the 49-14 Irish victory over the Trojans came from close to home.

Paul Moala, a senior safety at Mishawaka (Ind.) Penn, announced his verbal commitment to Notre Dame on Sunday night.

Trust the process, don't rush the process.

— Paul Moala (@PaulMoala) October 22, 2017

“I’m eternally grateful to God for blessing me with my talents that I can showcase in his name,” Moala wrote in part of a statement released on Twitter. “All glory be to him. But I’d like to announce that I’ve committed to The University of Notre Dame. Sorry for the wait.”

The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Moala is the 17th verbal commitment in Notre Dame's 2018 class and the first addition in more than two months.

He did not respond to Tribune requests for comment Sunday night.

Moala picked Notre Dame over offers from Iowa, Nebraska, Vanderbilt and others. He received his offer from Notre Dame following an impressive performance at the Irish Invasion camp in June. At the event, Moala ran a 40-yard dash in a reported time of 4.46 seconds.

247Sports slates Moala as three-star recruit and the No. 34 safety in the 2018 class. Rivals rates him as a two-star recruit.

“He’s a physical, hard-hitting guy,” said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. “He has good instincts, and he’s a hard worker. He looked bigger (Saturday) than when I saw him before.”

Moala made an official visit to Notre Dame this past weekend. It was the third Irish home game he attended after witnessing the first two games of the season against Temple and Georgia.

The decision from Moala comes ahead of his team’s playoffs which starts Friday night. Penn (8-1) will take on Valparaiso (8-1) in a Class 6A sectional semifinal. Valpo beat the Kingsmen 12-7 in the first game of the season. 

Moala scored the Penn touchdown on a 34-yard reception.

In his nine games as a senior, Moala has recorded 51 tackles, one fumble recovery and an interception returned for a touchdown. On special teams, Moala has blocked two kicks and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and two punts for touchdowns.

The addition of Moala gives Notre Dame two safeties in its 2018 class. Four-star recruit Derrik Allen, from Marietta, Ga., ranked as one of the top eight safeties in the country, committed to the Irish in February. Moala could also play the rover role like fellow Irish commit Shayne Simon.

The Irish also have been pursuing Julius Irvin and B.J Crim at safety, but both could also play cornerback. The 6-foot, 195-pound Crim reported an offer from the Irish on Sunday at the conclusion of his official visit to Notre Dame. Irvin, who made his official visit to Notre Dame for the Georgia game, tweeted about the Irish victory over USC on Saturday night.

Notre Dame’s 2018 class ranking didn’t shift with Sunday’s news from Moala. The Irish are still pegged as the No. 10 class in the country by 247Sports and No. 11 by Rivals.


— Brian Kelly (@CoachBrianKelly) October 22, 2017

Below are some highlights of Moala from his senior season.

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Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Paul Moala runs drills during the Irish Invasion Camp on June 10 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend. (Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)