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What a difference a day makes: Tuitt re-pledges Irish

Jan 20, 2011, 1:31 AM EDT

Stephon Tuitt

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. 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.”


  1. ndfootballfan4life - Jan 20, 2011 at 2:04 AM

    and the recruiting roller coaster continues…i won’t believe anything until they sign on the dotted line come february 2nd.

  2. 1historian - Jan 20, 2011 at 9:04 AM

    I would imagine that graduation rates at the 2 schools came into the conversation. GT can’t come close.

    Coach K is doing an outstanding job – on and off the field.

  3. scardino - Jan 20, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    Quit playing games with my heart, Stephon.

  4. bernhtp - Jan 20, 2011 at 11:15 AM

    Kelly et al are not only bringing in the recruits, but they are personally serving as an example of what they expect from their guys: be tenacious, pay attention to detail, be smart, and never, ever give up. I’m inspired.

    • oldestguard - Jan 20, 2011 at 11:59 AM

      You hit it right on the head, bernhtp !

      Walking the walk !!

      This has been an very impressive last few months with this program, don’t stop now boys.

    • tedlinko - Jan 20, 2011 at 12:48 PM

      I absolutely agree bernhtp. I know that nothing is certain until NSD (except for Williams, Lynch and their three classmates — which is a big “except” in and of itself). But the way BK is able to market ND’s assets (from tradition to academics — I haven’t seen it done that well since…well…since Lou. And it’s no coincidence that Lou was the last ND coach with a National Championship.

      No question that ND sells itself — it sure did for me the first time I walked on campus. But when your an elite recruit being pursued by other top-flight programs, sometimes you need someone to #1, get you on-campus in the first place, and #2, to remind you later what you loved about the place. BK clearly understands that.

      Surely, other elite programs will continue to take runs at these guys between now and NSD, but I fully expect Kelly’s boys will be there playing defense with the same tenaciousness that led the irish to a 4-0 finish to the season.

      Go IRISH!!!

  5. fitz79 - Jan 20, 2011 at 2:22 PM

    Man, this program is gonna be so special in the years to come! Even in the best seasons of the last couple decades we were always a team with a good offense and lousy defense. Now, the way things are going we’re gonna have an SEC caliber smash mouth defense in place, coupled with a high octane spread offense that can pile up the points. If that’s not a recipe for BCS success I don’t know what is! Kelly is a genius. Rudolph really looks like a dolt now for being the one person jumping ship even though when you add it up he didn’t even play a full 2 seasons for us since he’s so injury prone. I bet now he wishes he’d waited to see what Michael Floyd did as well. On an unrelated note I heard Jimmy Clausen after skipping his senior year at ND and leaving us high and dry because fatty told him to is back at ND to finish his degree. Let me be the first to welcome Jimmy back with a tremendous: get bent!

    Go Irish!

    • c4evr - Jan 20, 2011 at 8:09 PM

      BTW, is it just me, or does Jared Loughner look like a Clausen?!

    • tedlinko - Jan 21, 2011 at 11:55 AM

      Actually, I seem to recall that during at least parts of the Davie and Willingham regimes, it was kind of the opposite. We had an OK defense but couldn’t put up points. During Weis? Absolutely. Weis was never really interested in defense. I think your larger point about the program being special going forward are right on but the cheap shots on Rudolph and Clausen were uncalled for.

  6. joeblk10 - Jan 20, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    Fitz…. your a fool. If it wasn’t for Clausen we probably wouldnt have hit .500 in 08 and 09. He gave us two “good” years and though he left prematurly in my opinion as well you can’t call a guy a fool for finishing his ND degree. That does show some character in itself so shush up….

  7. 1historian - Jan 20, 2011 at 3:57 PM

    Fitz – Clausen and Tate left early so they would get their deals before the NFL CBA is renegotiated this spring.
    Clausen’s returning to school to get his degree – would you rather he not do it?

    Nice cheap shots at Rudolph – are you proud?

  8. jerseyshorendfan1 - Jan 20, 2011 at 8:51 PM

    Does anyone think this may be driven by ego? Like maybe Tuitt wanted more headlines than Lynch? I just don’t get all the flip-flopping.

  9. canucksfan22 - Jan 20, 2011 at 10:13 PM

    I am just glad that his choice was ND and he is sticking Tuitt.

    • ndfootballfan4life - Jan 21, 2011 at 1:51 AM

      haha Tuitt…i get it…..

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