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September 15, 2010
It looks like Notre Dame has found its bookend defensive ends for years to come.
The Irish secured the verbal commitment of four-star defensive end Stephon Tuitt on Wednesday, adding to a class that already includes four-star defensive end Aaron Lynch. Tuitt, a potential five-star prospect, took his official visit to Notre Dame last weekend.
"It's a great environment," Tuitt said. "It's a great coaching staff and a great football program. Plus they have my major."
Tuitt chose Notre Dame over scholarship offers from around the country but he had been considering a lead group of Auburn, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami, Tennessee and Notre Dame for some time.
Following his visit to South Bend, the 6-foot-5, 260-pound prospect said the Irish had surged into a tie with Georgia Tech and he still wanted to visit Miami and Georgia Tech one more time before making a decision.
But after a couple days of serious thought Tuitt decided to end the process by placing a call to Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly.
One of the appealing things Kelly offered during his recruiting pitch was early playing time for the nation's top strongside defensive end and No. 22 prospect overall.
"Most schools were offering that to me," Tuitt said. "But it might be a little bit more. I might be playing as a freshman. I just have to come in and work. I'm going to work my hardest and if I can play as a freshman that would be great."
Tuitt considers himself done with the recruiting process, although it's unlikely some programs will stop calling.
After seeing it up close last weekend Tuitt looks forward to running into Notre Dame Stadium in the blue and gold. It's a notion that even crossed Tuitt's mind as he was on campus.
"I said it a couple times when I was on the campus," Tuitt said. "I felt real comfortable being there on the campus ... It really felt right."