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.
I really hope Tuitt can become a difference maker along the defensive front.To me the problem with the Irish defense this year besides a really slow secondary is a difference maker along the defensive line.Teo and Calebrese have been pretty damn good but if you don’t have a guy who can push line back and keep guys off of the linebackers then the O-line gets to the second level and even the best linebackers can’t get away from a 300 pound lineman.I really think Nix could be that nose tackle that we need.Kelly always talked up Ian Williams but I never really saw a dominating player, he showed flashes but not dominating.Ethan Johnson is just a big body who can’t move, it’s good to have big 3-4 DE’s but you have to get a push and shed blocks things I just havn’t seen from him.Kapron Lewis-Moore is a talented player and for his size he can move with him it’s consistency.He will make a great play then he gets sucked in and they burn us around the end(our OLB have terrible outside contain also).Kap has another year Nix will be a sophmore if they develop into good players to go along with Calebrese and Teo in the middle we could become strong against the run.Now we need speed in the secondary!
I would love to have had all 3 DEs. We frankly need all the help we can get in the trenches. I was imagining a stud 3-4 D line in 2012 of Tuitt and Lynch at DEs and Nix at NG. We might still land a few more D prospects. Ishaq Williams seems to be favoring ND but he’ll most likely be a 3-4 OLB. LB French is also in play. Those 2 would be really great gets.
Allow me to indulge in the following fantasy. Imagine (don’t laugh) that ND wins its final 3 games and its bowl. Let’s say BK and his staff can recommit OL Prestwood. Perhaps we can also re-get Lynch. Throw in Savon Huggins (perhaps the most complete RB in this class) and either Williams or French and we’d end up with 21 top recruits and a top 6-8 class. Not bad for BK’s first recruiting go at ND.
Now, back to reality, we need to convince our current recruits and a few other key prospects to stay or commit, in spite of what could be a 5-7 or even 4-8 season . Perhaps we can still land about 18 or 19 athletes and finish with a top 10 class. Still very good.
BK would then have to do something CW couldn’t: Coach up these kids and translate their potential into actual play-making on Saturdays.
Here’s some good news: Tuitt plans to honor his commitment to ND as per ESPN.
That’s really good news I think he will be better then Lynch and he really seems like a smart kid.We still have some really good recruits on defenseive line.Anthoney Rabassa is a high motor player wich the Irish need.A little undersized and might become a OLB but is that so bad we need all the linebacker help we can get.Lets hope we can keep the kids we have and add some more, looking at the kids that are still committed they are all high intensity guys who have a lot of room to improve.Sounds like RKG’s to me.Give me 11 guys who are a little undersized but bust their ### and play disciplined and you will have a great defense.
I met Stephon Tuitt at Notre Dame Stadium last Saturday. He’s a personable, articulate, impressive young man, and I’m CERTAIN he’s taller than 6’5″!
they lost the same way charlie weis did
Kelly’s also developing the players, all the players. Weis, ( and I still like Weis, just not for head coach ) only developed QB’s WRs, TEs, and to some degree RBs. That was it for him. You can see development from every player at every position and that shows head coaching experience. Kelly was immediately able to assess the strengths of his assistants. Weis did what too many managers who aren’t ready to manage do, he misjudged durign the hiring interview and mistrusted during the working days. So by second guessing too many assistants who did know their stuff and micromanaging, he never put a total package on the field.
Kelly is doing that and the recruits know it.
I LOVE the fact that he picked a school that will make him into a DOCTOR and not a criminal!!!
This is already one of my favorite players…very impressive
i hope you mean the SEC schools that offered because the school we beat here was Georgia Tech.
I was kind of thinking that he may not have to give back a Heisman Trophy or forfeit games and scholarships for the university…
A great front 3 to go along with four incredible linebackers is what ND needs to stop future Michigan teams. We all know that Michigan is going to continue to bring in dynamic players as long as Rodriquez is there. So ND needs to stay level with them by bringing in dynamic players on the defense.
Especially dynamic safeties to play against a versatile QB.
what does RKG stand for?
right kind of guys
Frank, what about the twins that committed this weekend too.
The George and Josh Atkinson. Both pegged as DB’s by Scout.com
That’s an area of need, and from what I read they fit his mold of slightly taller, more versatile DB’s.
George will likely play WR.
I love the fact that he is taking a largely different approach to recruiting than Weis did. O-line and defense are what’s going to win the games ND Nation wants to…championships. Great job Coach Kelly, and always…GO IRISH!
I agree Pleinen concerning the naysayers..So tired of them jumping to conclusions before his program is where he wants it to be with his classes…sheesh…relax folks, tired of your constant whining…grow up…lol..
I hope this silences the complainers who screamed the sky is falling after the Michigan game.
I get so excited to hear that Kelly is building a defense. We just picked up a speedy corner as well.
Welcome Home Big Man. Definitely sounds like a RKG….I gotta admit, the one area where I thought BK might not measure up, recruiting, is turning out to be pretty damn awesome. GO IRISH!