Jan 20, 2011, 1:31 AM EDT
Small timey? Not this coaching staff.
A day after losing five-star defensive end Stephon Tuitt to home-state Georgia Tech, head coach Brian Kelly, defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, recruiting coordinator Chuck Martin and defensive line coach Mike Elston arrived at the Tuitt household and didn’t leave until Tuitt was back committed to Notre Dame.
IrishSportsDaily.com has the quote of record:
I feel like I got some things off my chest,” Tuitt told ISD. “Some things about the college and some of the little things and big things. They answered all my questions. I finally have some closure. I’m 100 percent.”
And with that, a fanbase rejoices.
Whether it be praise for Diaco, whose 4:30 a.m. heroics reeling in outside linebacker Ishaq Williams started a legend that may erase the Irish’s inability to stop Navy’s option. Or Martin, who is credited with keeping the Irish in contact with Tuitt and his family, and doggedly chasing down both committed and uncommitted prospects. Or Elston, who covers Georgia, the Carolinas and South Florida for the coaching staff and has been imperative in reeling in a historic crop of front seven players including Ben Councell, Anthony Rabasa, and once again, Tuitt.
With just under two weeks to go, there’s likely more to this story, even if Tuitt’s mother, Tamara Tuitt, told the South Bend Tribune that her son is “done with recruiting.” But if the Irish end up landing Rivals’ 22nd best player in the country, they’ll have walked into two Southern states with high school coaches all but shoving their star players to the home school, and walked out with two five-star defensive ends heading north to South Bend.
It isn’t hard to notice the difference between Kelly’s recruiting philosophy and that of former head coach Charlie Weis. For Kelly, recruiting isn’t done until Signing Day. For Weis, there was a morality to his pursuits. If a recruit is looking, then Notre Dame is looking. While it made sense in principle, concepts like loyalty and fidelity are obsolete when it comes to a 17-year-0ld choosing from the nation’s best football schools. One thing Kelly is proving for certain: those principles don’t compare with dogged pursuit.
“They just told the truth,” Tuitt told the Atlanta Journal Constitution late Wednesday night. “They didn’t say anything negative about Georgia Tech or anything like that. They just told the truth about what Notre Dame could do for me and what I could do for Notre Dame.”