Don’t let his impish grin and fun-loving spirit fool you. Notre Dame Prep senior linebacker Tyler Taffuri is a serious student and athlete.
With a 4.19 GPA, AIA first team all-state for football and countless service hours to local charitable organizations, Taffuri was named first team student athlete from the National Football Foundation Valley of the Sun Chapter on Feb. 17.
“Tyler is deserving of this award because he embodies what it means to be a Saint,” said Notre Dame Prep head football coach Mark Nolan. “His leadership and his dedication to being his best brought out the best in not only himself, but all those around him.”
Crediting his parents Luke and Geralyn Taffuri for the example they set of hard work and dedication, made an impact on Taffuri and his approach to life. “I know I have been blessed with a great life and great talents so I don’t want to waste those gifts,” explained the 18-year old.
He also looks up to his older siblings. “They have been great role models for me,” Taffuri said. His brother Luke, NDP Class of 2013, was the Saints' Football MVP and is playing football at USD and his sister Julia, NDP Class of 2015, is playing soccer at U Mass.
The Taffuris have a fourth child at NDP, Brooke, Class of 2018, who is also an athlete.
Nolan will accompany Taffuri to an awards ceremony, April 2 at the Hilton Scottsdale Resort where NFF scholarships will given to the top 33 nominees along with other awards. Nominations were based on academic achievement, athletic success and community service.
“It feels great to be recognized as excelling in all three areas,” said Taffuri. “Too often football players and athletes in general, are stereotyped. I’m proud to show the NDP community that it is possible to be an athlete and an academic at the same time.”
As a child, Taffuri would attend St. Bernard’s Vacation Bible School in the summer and now volunteering there is his favorite NDP community service project. “It excites me because I remember being in those camps when I was younger,” he said. “I love teaching kids.”
Taffuri said it was coach Nolan and his NDP lacrosse coach Doug Lipka, who showed him how to balance family, school and faith. “These coaches have shown me the answers to all of life’s problems and I have been lucky to play under them,” he added.
Taffuri is undecided in his college selection at this time. “I can tell you when he decides, it’s going to be somewhere special,” said Nolan.
Opened in 2002, Notre Dame Prep is a Catholic diocesan college preparatory high school with a co-ed enrollment of 904 students. The school has 41 state championships including back-to-back football state champions in 2007 and 2008.