Tight end Tyler Luatua is a very well known 4-star recruit out of La Mirada High School in La Mirada, California. The tight end position is something that Mike Leach doesn’t use very often. Since Leach runs the air-raid offense there really is not much of a point in using a tight end the traditional way. But, if the tight end is less of a blocker and more of a big receiver then there will be a lot of good thing going for him.
Luatua is exactly that. At 6-4, 230-pounds Luatua is a big player who Leach could utilize in many ways. Luatua is very good at blocking and can also make the catches that a wide receiver can make. When coming off the line and blocking for either a run or another receiver Luatua gets off quick and low and makes a good block on the down lineman before moving on to the second level where he makes a block that often times led to a hole the back could go through.
When going out for passes Luatua acts like he is a smaller receiver. He is fast, agile, and has good hands to make the tougher grabs. After catching the ball he wastes no time at all with running East and West, he gets straight up-field even if that means he has to run over a player or two and at his size it is hard for just one player to make the tackle.
In high school Luatua played defensive end and was very explosive off the defensive line. Coming out of a three point stance he is as fast, if not faster, than he is standing. Luatua is a player that can double as a DT if needed without much worry about his messing up. In special teams I can see Luatua being back near the returners and has the ability to return the ball if needed. He can block and still keep up with them, for the most part at least.
Washington State has no designated tight ends on the roster but Andrei Lintz, who graduated this past year, was the “tight end” in Leach’s offense and caught 10 passes in his career for 114 yards and 3 touchdowns.
For a look at Washington State’s receivers situation check out the early receivers preview
Below you will find Luatua’s sophomore year highlights.