Notre Dame picked up a huge commitment, perhaps its biggest of the year, on Wednesday when the nation’s #1 ranked strong-side defensive end Stephon Tuitt called head coach Brian Kelly and pledged his commitment to the Irish.
Tuitt, a 6’5″, 260 lbs strong-side defensive end, is a prototypical defensive end for the 3-4 defense and is one of the nation’s top recruits. Rivals ranked Tuitt as the #1 prospect at his position and the 22nd ranked recruit nationally regardless of position.
Much like fellow Notre Dame defensive end commitment Aaron Lynch, Tuitt’s offer list reads like a who’s who list of elite programs. Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, and Tennessee have all offered the Georgia native scholarships. Speaking of Lynch, Tuitt’s commitment gives Notre Dame a pair of bookends for the defensive line unlike any other combo since hey day recruiting of Vinny Cerrato and Lou Holtz. Throw Louis Nix in the middle of Lynch and Tuitt and Notre Dame has the makings of a dominant defensive line in the near future.
Tuitt is a standout in the class room as well as the football field. He sports a 3.2 GPA and will major in sports medicine and wants to become an orthopedist. In fact, Tuitt told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that Notre Dame having the sports medicine major gave them the edge over Georgia Tech, his other finalist.
Tuitt’s commitment gives Notre Dame 6 Top 100 recruits based on Rivals rankings – the second most in the country behind only Texas’s 8. Notre Dame also moved up to 6th in class rankings after the Tuitt commitment.
Tuitt is the 3rd recruit who visited this weekend to commit to Notre Dame along with George and Josh Attkinson. If Notre Dame is able to add a fourth commit from the weekend in the form of safety Wayne Lyons, this past weekend would have to be considered one of the most successful recruiting weekends in a while for the Irish.
With the defensive line haul the Irish are building for this year, it’s clear that Brian Kelly is targeting an area where Notre Dame has struggled for years. Outside of the class of 2008 when Notre Dame landed Brandon Newman, Hafis Williams, Ethan Johnson, and Kapron Lewis-Moore, Notre Dame struggled mightily recruiting defensive linemen. It’s also clear that Kelly is targeting taller linemen with all of the defensive linemen in this class measuring in at 6’5″ or taller.
Every way you look at it, this was a huge pickup for the Irish and should continue the momentum that Kelly and staff have built on the recruiting trail.