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.