After visit to BYU, Notre Dame's Tyler Luatua makes transfer official

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

An official visit to Provo, Utah, this past weekend sealed a transfer that had been percolating for most of January.

Sophomore Tyler Luatua tight end is now a former Notre Dame football player, headed to BYU, where he’ll have to sit out the 2016 season with two season of eligibility to follow.

Notre Dame confirmed Luatua’s intention to transfer in a press release Monday night. Per the statement, the sophomore will finish the spring semester at ND before departing.

Notre Dame is in good position to absorb the defection, with quality and quantity at the tight end positon, though the 6-foot-3, 255-pounder from Paramount, Calif., had proven to be an outstanding blocker in his two seasons with the Irish.

The receiving aspect of his game is where he’ll have to play catch-up at BYU. Luatua leaves ND still looking for his first career reception. Luatua's lone career stat was a six-yard return on a squib kickoff.

He played in 20 of a possible 26 games for the Irish, missing time in each season with concussion issues. He made four starts, including both of ND’s bowl games the past two seasons.

Junior Durham Smythe, redshirt freshman Nic Weishar and freshman Alizé Jones all have starting experience. So does converted defensive lineman Chase Hounshell, who could be in the mix to return for a sixth year.

ND does not have a tight end in the recruiting cycle that closes with National Signing Day on Wednesday. The Irish do, however, have two commitments in the 2017 recruiting class, including the player regarded as the top prospect at that position in that cycle, Brock Wright of Cypress, Texas. He’s joined by Cole Kmet of Arlington Heights, Ill.

Notre Dame's Tyler Luatua (13) made his impending transfer out of ND official on Monday night. (Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)