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Tuitt’s sticking with ND… for now

Dec 21, 2010, 8:00 AM EDT

Stephon Tuitt

While I didn’t mention it, I certainly heard plenty of rumblings from nervous Notre Dame fans when prized defensive end recruit Stephon Tuitt decided to take an official visit to Auburn this past weekend. Whether it be the hard luck the Irish have had holding onto big-time defensive end targets, or the draw of a program playing in the national championship game that’s also 500 miles closer to home, Tuitt’s decision to take an official visit to another program didn’t look good for the Irish, and has a long history of meaning that recruit is all but gone.

Yet reports have come back from across the interweb that Tuitt visited Auburn and came back still pledged to the Irish, which has to constitute incredibly good news for Irish fans hoping that Tuitt anchors the defensive end haul for the Notre Dame recruiting class.

IrishSportsDaily.com caught up with Tuitt after his visit who had this to say about the decision to visit another school after committing to the Irish. “I just want to make sure before I sign the papers to Notre Dame,” Tuitt told ISD. “Another school would have to knock me off my feet to get me to change my mind.”

Tuitt confirmed that there’s one more school he’s interested in looking at, and he’ll visit Georgia Tech after their bowl game.

“I’m still committed to Notre Dame, but I am looking around,” Tuitt said. “A school would have to sweep me off my feet, if they did that I have a feeling I’d move them to the top. I just have to make sure about my decision, because signing day is right around the corner.”

This is one of those good news – queasy news situations, as the news that Tuitt didn’t leave the fold for Auburn has to qualify as good, but the fact that a “committed” prospect is still out there looking around has to make ND fans feel a little queasy, especially after their recent luck holding onto high-profile commits from the South.

Unlike his predeccesor, Brian Kelly understands the realities of recruiting today and will have his staff working until signing day.

“Once a young man makes a commitment to us, we as a staff go into the mode of ‘Alright, here’s where it’s going to get tough now,’ because everybody out there knows who their competition is,” Kelly said earlier this week. “So we have to be prepared to recruit harder during those times.

“We’re not recruiting kids that have two or three MAC offers. These guys have national offers with great programs and dynamic head coaches and great support systems when they come on campus. I chuckle about it sometimes because the last thing I knew, you still have to sign a letter of intent for that to be a binding commitment.”

Kelly’s job won’t be done with Tuitt until that fax comes in on Signing Day.

 

  1. bradwins - Dec 21, 2010 at 10:10 AM

    If I were Kelly and his staff, I would not be afraid to mention that Auburn’s potential National Championship will only be temporary, if they are fortunate enough to beat Oregon. They will most likely be on probation and not even eligible to be on TV or play in bowl games for most of the time Stephon would be there. And they surely won’t be National Championship contenders once Cam Newton skips town and they are down 10 scholarships due to the sanctions that are all but imminent.

  2. borromini - Dec 21, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    What imminent sanctions await Auburn? Any potential infractions levied against Cam Newton from the current investigation will not include Auburn since it appears to only have been when Mississippi State was recruiting Cam.

    As for what Kelly should tell Tuitt…I’m of the opinion that Notre Dame should never resort to negative recruiting in an attempt to retain an elite athlete’s commitment.

  3. bradwins - Dec 21, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    I am of the opinion that no coach should ever resort to lying about another program to a recruit. Reminding a recruit of the reasons to play at Notre Dame by drawing a contrast with another school does not qualify as lying. Is it negative recruiting? Maybe, but it is a necessary evil. If a program is going to try to poach committed players then you have to fight back.

    As far as Auburn, it is hard for me to imagine that they will emerge from this thing with their program unblemished when all is said and done. It may “appear” that only Miss St. was involved at this stage of the investigation, but that doesn’t make much sense if you take a step back. As the investigation at USC showed: these things take time (too much time, honestly), but where this is smoke the NCAA will try to find the fire that caused it.

    • 1notredamefan - Dec 21, 2010 at 4:42 PM

      Doesn’t smoke come before fire? and to add to that….most definitely there is some problems arising from that fiasco down there. I am rendered utterly speechless as to why this kid won the Heisman and is even playing in the championship game! He’s good… sure but why these infractions seem as though they don’t care what happens as long as they get their ratings for this year! (we’ll figure it out later) attitude?

      If Miss St was asked for money and didn’t get the kid, what did auburn give him to go there?

  4. 1historian - Dec 21, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    I am reminded of something that happened many years back when Lou Holtz was coaching @ ND. A young man who was a high quality kicker was trying to decide between ND & Florida State. The fact that he was the son of a former ND player led to the assumption that he would sign with ND. At the last minute he went with FSU. Lou Holtz is quoted as having said “He didn’t make a 4 year mistake – he made a 40 year mistake.”

    Anyone remember that?

  5. bostonjan - Dec 21, 2010 at 7:06 PM

    Back in a Sept interview, Stephon Tuitt mentioned that with each school he asks himself if he would fit in – especially on the academic side. Re ND he was quoted as saying “…I was very comfortable. It was more of an Ivy League situation.”

    It seems like he is possibly comparing ND to Georgia Tech – football athlete graduation rate of 96% vs 49%, respectively.

    Part of the low graduation rate for Ga Tech (as well as many SEC and other schools) may be due in part to the practice of over committing scholarships to recruits and then pulling away scholarships come the fall. Reference:

    http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=5935634

    Meanwhile, Coach Kelly has consistently reiterated his/ND emphasis of totally “developing” players – physically, intellectually, spiritually.

    I believe this becomes the essence of the ND “pitch” (if you wish) for Mr. Tuitt as well as all other recruits.

    It will all play out come Feb 3rd.

    • papadec - Dec 21, 2010 at 11:22 PM

      It’ll play out for this recruiting class – as far as letters of intent sent/received. But, based on that video, it will play out for some recruits 2-4 years down the road – in a not so pleasant manner. The kids & their parents have to take a long hard look at the recruiting practices of the schools they are interested in. The NCAA needs to start penalizing the programs that over sign. If they lost a scholarship the following year, for every over sign in a given year, it would come to a screaming halt. Thanks for the video – very revealing.

  6. accsecblog - Dec 21, 2010 at 9:47 PM

    Tuitt is scheduled to arrive on Georgia Tech’s campus at 2:27

    • bostonjan - Dec 22, 2010 at 12:42 PM

      @accsec – what’s your source of this info and did the visit in fact happen?

      IMO this would be good news. If I remember correctly, Stephon is planning for early enrollment – which begins in about 3 1/2 weeks. The visit would indicate a desire to clarify any doubts, enroll, pack, arrange rooming logistics, etc.

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