Taimani Looking to "For Sure" visit Notre Dame

July 8, 2017
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Notre Dame is not typically active when it comes to recruiting Polynesian players in general, with a few obvious exceptions earlier this decade. That appears to be changing now that Brian Polian, the guy who recruited Manti Te'o, is back on the staff.

The Irish landed Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa out of Hawaii to help close out their 2017 class and have offered several Polynesian players in this class. The most recent one is 4 star offensive guard/defensive tackle Sam Taimani (formerly Vakalahi) out of Salt Lake City, Utah. Notre Dame sent him an offer in May and have made it into his top 7 even without a visit to campus yet. A big reason why is the Polian.

“He seems like a really good guy and a really good coach," Taimani said.

Getting to know Polian and the rest of the coaches better is a big reason why he wants to get on campus. It doesn't look like that visit will happen this month before camp starts for Notre Dame and all of the high school programs across the nation.

That visit will have to wait until the season to happen. "(It will be an) official visit for sure, yes," emphasized Taimani. And on that visit, he'll likely be spending more time with defensive line coach Mike Elston than with offensive line coach Harry Hiestand.

"They want me to play d-tackle and that’s a position I will play in college,” Taimani said while admitting he has no preference. He's willing to play "wherever they need me" and is being recruited by most schools as a defensive lineman.

He was selected to The Opening as an offensive lineman, though, so he ended up going up against Notre Dame commits Jayson Ademilola and Ja'mion Franklin a fair amount during the camp rather than lining up beside them.

Taimani competed hard, but had some ups and downs in pass protection over the course of the week. That could be attributed to him not exactly having a ton of experience pass blocking in the scheme he plays at his high school. It's a run-heavy offense which utilizes his mobility as a puller to get to make an impact at the second level.

“It’s a little harder," Taimani admitted when asked about adjusting to all the pass blocking at a camp like The Opening. "I have to take in what the coaches are telling me and practice on getting back and not leaning forward and all of those things.” Ultimately he may not have to worry too much about protecting and can focus on sacking the quarterback at the next level, but his improvement over the week was a positive sign for his future either way.

In terms of the immediate future with his recruitment, he doesn't appear close to a decision any time soon. He is looking to learn more about all schools and Notre Dame is of particular interest to him because of what his high school coach, Brandon Matich, told him after Taimani received the offer.

“He was just talking about all the great things and showing me photos and was like, 'Dude, you need to get out there!' He was excited about it.”

Aside from the tradition and the beauty of the campus, Taimani will be focusing on the people involved in the program as much as anything else when he visits.

"I just want to personally talk to players and I talked to some of the Notre Dame commits about it. One of them was Franklin, I think. I talked to him and he was just telling me about and how great it is over there.”
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