Send in the Freaking Cavalry!

This staff knows how to fight. While CW stuck with his ‘if you’re looking, we’re looking’ it’s become very obvious that this staff will fight til the end for a recruit, regardless of where he’s looking, committed, sleeping, or traveling to.

Today Coach Kelly, along with coaches Diaco, Martin and Elston made an in-home visit with all-world recruit Stephon Tuitt who had just flipped from ND to GA Tech. It seemed like an odd switch given Tuitt’s multiple previous visits to GA Tech, his seemingly strong feelings for ND, and the fact that he hadn’t even really planned the visit – he only went because a hoops game had been cancelled.

But his High School Coach seemed to be pretty sure that the recruiting was done, and it was obvious where he preferred for Tuitt to go:

“I am just tickled to death that these kids are going to Georgia Tech and it is a school where people in our community and from our school can watch them play,” head coach Matt Fligg said. “I would hop on a plane any day to watch Tuitt or Smith play, but having them so close is really special. Those two kids almost single-handedly turned our program around.”

At one point Fligg went so far as to say that Tuitt would not even take calls or visits with any coaches outside of GA Tech. Well, that didn’t last long.

The ND Cavalry got down to visit Tuitt and his family in his home asap , answered his questions, and made sure that Stephon is, once again, Irish.

What a day!” Tuitt exclaimed late Wednesday night.

“They just told the truth,” he said when asked what changed his mind [after the visit]. “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 at Notre Dame..”

Tuitt said he “had a few questions I needed to get off my chest.” Asked what those questions were, he said, “just some little things and some big things. I had some questions about the class they have coming in and some about the school and some about the coaching staff. Things like that.”

It’s very clear that Stephon’s mother was a big force in his switching back to ND, along with the coaching staff. She had a pretty clear rationale for his recent indecision as well.

“The reason he was wavering back and forth all boils down to him not wanting to hurt anybody’s feelings. He had developed relationships with all these coaches and didn’t want to disappoint them. But somebody’s going to have to be disappointed and today it’s Georgia Tech.”

And it sounds like, if Ma Tuitt has anything to do with it, there will be no more switching.

“Tomorrow it’s going to be Georgia Tech [that's disappointed] and the next day it’s going to Georgia Tech because recruiting stops now.”

(emphasis mine)

This is a great job by the staff of sticking with guys, and continuing to fight. You had to figure the staff would do so after their awesome work with Lynch and Williams, but it’s great to see Kelly and Company really keep after kids, and make sure that they’re making decisions with all the right information.

Stephon is a unique talent, and an incredible get for this staff. A few weeks back we all dreamed of Lynch, Williams and Tuitt wreaking havoc in the backfield together in a few short years. Looking forward to seeing that dream come to fruition.

Welcome back home, Stephon! Her Loyal Sons loves it!

A little snippet from an interview, enjoy:

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  • Craig

    Has there been a more misunderstood comment than “If you’re looking, we’re looking”? I never took Charlie to mean anything more than that a player who was truly committed wouldn’t be taking visits anywhere else, and if a player did take visits, ND would treat him as uncommitted. It DIDN’T mean ND would pull is offer, it DIDN’T mean ND would stop recruiting him.

    That’s not to say that Charlie did the best job of winning back guys who decided to look elsewhere—I suspect that he may not have been as persistent about continuing to pursue players nominally committed to other schools as he should have been.

    • The Biscuit

      That was pretty clear to me – but I think it may have turned kids off more than ‘we’ll fight for you to the end’. I have no knowledge of how kids responded to it, but that’s just my guess. Kelly’s approach is different. I like it better, not because I think CW was wrong, just because it seems more positive (from the recruit’s perspective)

  • theIrishLion10

    dont forget Nix rushing up the middle Biscuit… if he reads this and gets upset, there may be a natural disaster of some sort

  • The Biscuit

    Didn’t you feel the earthquake? That was Nix snoring.

  • tjak

    Hey Biscuit, anyway that you and DMQ could host a forum on how Irish fans in particular deal with the recruiting cycle. This has been such an up and down year, it might be interesting for all if we had a no holds barred discussion on how we all coped with the coming together of the class of 2011; or recruiting in general. Just a thought, was thinking that you guys might be the best site for it.

  • Nate

    I hate recruiting. We get all excited over a 17/18 year old kid, and then he signs and comes in and (more often than not in the past few years) disappears for 1-3 years. Part of that is the lack of player development we’ve had under Charles (and Ty, and….well, you know), but it’s just hard to get excited when they’re not going to do anything for a few more years. I get that the Nix stuff is kind of tongue in cheek (and I love him for committing to us when we had no head coach), but in reality, is he any good? How would any of us know, since the last time we saw him play was HS? And since our DT’s haven’t exactly been great since Trevor Laws (and God love him, he was great in comparison to the crap we’ve become used to, but he was no SEC DT), how good can Nix be if he’s not passing the walking benchwarmers we had behind Ian Williams this year?

    I’m probably looking at this all wrong and simply pessimistic (sue me, I just started grad school in Hawaii. Everything else is going so well, that I can’t imagine ND football being good to me too), but I’m so used to highly rated recruits coming in to South Bend and leaving with “highly rated recruit” being the best thing we could say about them.

    • http://theirishlion.wordpress.com theIrishLion10

      Nate, I don’t want to declare BK the next coming yet, but his track record at CMU and Cincy in terms of player development cannot be ignored. Mardy Gilyard (Big East’s #1 WR last season) was a 2-star running back, but he worked with BK, and then he turned into a monster. Dan Lefevour was an average recruit, but BK turned him into one of the best dual threat QBs the NCAA has seen (in terms of stats at least, not to mention the W’s Lefevour lead the Chippewas to). And that is just the offensive side. He moved Connor Barwin from TE to DE at Cincy, who was an unrated recruit I think, and that seemed to work out for everyone as well. He lead the Big East in sacks his one season as a DE. These are just a few examples, but I feel if BK can do this with these unheralded recruits, I cannot wait to see the development of these 4 and 5 star guys down the line.

    • http://www.herloyalsons.com domer_mq

      Grad school in Hawaii?

      I’m revoking your license to complain about anything aside from 5 dollar Cokes at restaurants and the occasional volcanic eruption, dude.

      • The Biscuit

        Seriously. You Nate has no leeway with this. NATE IS BANNED FROM COMPLAINING ABOUT ANYTHING. What a Haole.

        • Nate

          Seriously, guys? I’d LIKE to think that 13 years of service to my country, including 2 years of that away from family on the DMZ in Korea and 1 year in Afghanistan (this past one), and the better part of the last decade in virtual Notre Dame banishment having to get up at 3 AM to listen to WVFI broadcasts of getting blown out by USC, would earn me a TEENY bit of leeway, here. Just a smidge.

          But yeah, going to class in sandals in January is rough.

          • The Biscuit

            That means you have even less room to complain. Cuz you know how tough it can be. Now your biggest problem is that ND has a Top 7 recruiting class and some guys MIGHT not Pan out…

      • theIrishLion10

        I guess in my rebuttle I missed the biggest point, and that is that he is in Hawaii going to school.

    • Pat

      I hear you. But, ever hear of a guy named Jimmy Clausen? How about Floyd or Rudolph (to name a few)? Point is, maybe some of these scouts really do know what they are talking about when they award stars to these guys. I think, as Irish Lion suggests, Kelly can build, between the training and conditioning, approach, etc., three-star guys into studs. But what might he do with guys who are five star coming out?

  • TLNDMA

    It didn’t make sense that Tuitt pushed Lynch and Williams at the AA game then bolted. I knew this wasn’t over. Hurry up first Wed. in Feb.

  • GB

    I hope these guys stay committed and then add Huggins and another standout.

  • Erik ’04

    I can just picture their conversation:

    Tuitt: “Hi, Coach Kelly? I’m sorry, but I’m decommitting and will attend Georgia Tech.”

    BK: “Don’t move a muscle, we’ll be there in six hours!”

  • Pat

    Williams, Tuitt, Lynch = coup.

    We are building a future front seven that is going to be SCARY. These are the guys that normally make up the defensive front on SEC teams.

    And this is all a couple years down the road even. I’m excited enough having guys like Teo, Johnson, Lewis-Moore, Shembo and Gray come back next year.

  • JM

    It’s interesting that a few years ago, we looked at Urban Meyer as scum for poaching our recruits at the last minute. Now that appears to be the norm for all schools. Urban is still scum and I am not defending the tactics he used, but there seemed to be a lot less of this going on a few years ago. I am not against it, it’s just interesting how quickly the norm changes in recruiting.

    Favorite comment I saw on another article about the Florida recruit switching to ND: At least Weis’ second foray into college coaching is going better for Notre Dame…

    • NWohioND

      That’s a funny last line JM…touche

    • Craig

      Urban wasn’t scum for poaching our recruits. He was scum for poaching them and then telling them to lie to the ND coaches about it. Notice that neither Tuitt nor Lynch tried to hide the change in commitment. (And, furthermore, let’s remember that both were originally committed to ND in the first place…)

  • CJW

    I love the cynisim in here. Look this is a fricking great recruting class. Tuitt is a BEAST and so are williams and lynch. Schools like GT would be happy to have any one of these guys.

    Just look at last years recruiting cycle compared to this. I think we have the makings of a pretty good D next year and with this class coming in the future for the D is bright.

    If we hold this class together and add a top RB it will be a top 5 class. I understand it is hard to get exited until we see them playing in a few years but this is only the begining. I look for us to have another top class in 2012 filling in whatever depth we still lack.

    I think the wins are going to start stacking up. Just think poeple we copmeted with SECC and FL schools for kids they always get and got some of them this year…..woohooo

    WE ARE ND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • The Biscuit

      That’s just Nate being frustrated because he has Island Fever. Everyone else is ecstatic.

      • Nate

        I’m certainly not pissy about it, Bisc. It’s just that it’s extremely hard for me to get excited about it, because we have no idea how it will turn out. Great, we got great recruits. 3 years from now they’ll hopefully be doing great things. I’m worried about South Florida next September.

        • The Biscuit

          Just giving you crap bud. I just like to enjoy the ride this time of year. We have 7 months after signing day to worry about next season.

  • TBoneND

    I recently read an article about Irish Freshmen burning their elgibility by playing on special teams, with this type of recruiting putting the young’uns on the field early accelerates the player development.
    My brother-in-law (a uM sucks law school grad) mentioed with the hiring of BK he would be the best coach ND ever had.
    I replied that at best Kelly would or could only be 3rd best, but not a bad spot to be!

    GO IRISH !!

  • Ryan

    3rd best coach at ND means he’d get in the CF Hall of Fame. But that would mean he’d have to be better than Ara. That’s harder than most people think. Heck even if he became the 4th best coach at ND he’d be the in the CF HOF. Not a bad career if you ask me.

    @Nate: Dude, Nix is going to be awesome. And Ian Williams was pretty good this year. I think the coaches wanted to get him in shape and save a year of eligibility. But the coaches said he has stood out in practice. I think he’ll have a pretty good career here.

    • The Biscuit

      Nate is right in that we do need to recruit a solid DT or 2 (if that’s possible) next year though. The ends are looking awesome, now time to shore up the middle. Especially because Nix will play 2 games and then declare for the draft.

      • WiscoDomer

        I have a feeling Tuitt will be a DT by the time he’s done (especially in pass rush situations). He’s already 260 lbs as a 17 yr old without the benefit of Longo Beach. In a few years he’ll be well over 300. Rivals projects him as being a player similar to Marcus Stroud.

        • JBND

          He’s too tall. You normally don’t want the guy in the middle to be 6’5″! Even 6’2″ or 6’3″ isn’t great. Low and powerful! Gotta be able to get underneath the center who is usually no taller than 6′ or so.

          • WiscoDomer

            That would be why the Marcus Stroud comparison was made. Stroud is 6’6″. I don’t know where you’re getting your idea that centers are shorter than 6′, but if you can find me an elite Center that is shorter than 6 feet tall, I’d be surprised. In fact only 5 of the 84 Centers in the 2011 recruiting class are shorter than 6’2″ and of those only 1 is 6′ or shorter.

  • SDI

    Don’t sell the guys backing Ian Williams short. The defense stuffed Utah and USC with those guys playing. The coaches are very confident about their abilities, and they were all big time (not as big time as LNIII of course)recruits. And they all had 3 years in the weight room to develop man strength.

  • http://rut4nd TLNDMA

    When I first saw the photo of LNIII I was nervous that he had eaten Kyle Rudolph. Glad to hear it was an exchange of jerseys…………… He will swallow up ball carriers this fall…Badoompa.

  • JBND

    @biscut,
    ND doesn’t have DT’s unless you really mean NG? The 3-4 does not have DT’s. I had them once, but I immediately had a Guiness and they subsided.

    • Pat

      Defensive tackle = nose guard = nose tackle.

    • Pat

      Granted, DTs don’t always line up at the nose, but in the 3-4 ours often will.

      • JBND

        Sorry,
        Wasn’t picking. Just a terminology thing I guess. I get into “discussions” with haters about us over signing DE’s and DT’s and who is listed as what, so….? No biggie.

        • The Biscuit

          Yeah, for me DT = NG when you’re talking about recruits. Regardless of system, they tend to be bigger run-stuffing type guys. Yeah, a NG will be on the bigger side of even the DT spectrum, but for me they’re pretty much interchangeable. Otherwise, when we flip-flopped from 3-4 to 4-3 and back, we’d have been screwed.

          • Erik ’04

            I’m less concerned with the DT/NG differentiation than I am with the DT/DE differentiation. When people talk of elite pass-rushing defensive ends, they are not talking about the “DE” in the 3-4. The “DE” in the 3-4 plays a lot more like a DT in the 4-3, since he is usually *inside* the offensive tackle and taking on double teams with the guard. Most 3-4 DEs would play a 4-3 DT in the NFL, rather than 4-3 DE, I would think.

  • JBND

    Also,
    With us losing the T.O.P battle everygame, we will need two good NG’s and 4 good DE’s to rotate, especially when we play ball control teams like Stanford, Navy, Airforce, SoCal, Pitt. IMHO, NIX will see the field A LOT this season.

  • CJW

    I just wish we could get savon or antoher top RB but the kid from Texas is being underated as he is electric and played with top Texas competition……

    Depth in the secondary worries me but hopefully they will move some people around in spring if someone is worthy. I wonder if one of last years ‘athletes’ shouldn’t be moved to safety or nickle. The front 7 could be tottally stacked this year with good 2 deep across the front.

    Just imagine a quality D and much better QB play this could be a good team this year.

  • Mark G

    When LNIII first showed up on campus last summer he looked like he had eaten Rudolph. He needed this year to get in shape, to learn some nutrition facts and how to stay in shape, and to get even stronger. He should be a force in the middle next fall, rotating with Cwynar (who ended the year much stronger than I expected/feared).

    Getting these talented D-linemen, and O-linemen on the other side, is great news even if they do not see the field this fall. They all could use a year of weights, maturing and learning the system. And if they are good enough, they are going to make the upper classmen that much better by creating more competition for spots on the depth charts. Love to see it.

    Nate, just so you know, it is going down to about -7 tonight here in Chicago, with windchills of about -25, followed by a high of about 9 degrees tomorrow.

  • JBND

    @Mark,
    Thank Gawd I looded up the family and moved to NC! Minus 25!? Never again! NEVER! It was 50 today in Charlotte, chilly. Brrr…
    I loved growing up in Chicago, but damn…
    NEVER AGAIN!

  • Mark G

    JBND,

    Winter sucks (as do the taxes – thank your, Governor Quinn!), but one benefit is that I made every home game last fall except Stanford. I am driving down to South Bend Saturday for men’s BB game and then taking daughter and her friends to Rocco’s for dinner. Some consolation.

    • JBND

      Well, I’m jealous! I haven’t made it back for a game in 11 years! Maybe that’s a good thing? I kid.
      I am going to go to the Wake Forest FB game this season though, and my wife surprised me with tickets for the Navy game in Dublin for ’12!!! Now we just need to save the money for the air fare.

    • E-Man

      Roccos… nice.

  • Mark G

    I saw this site and my first reaction was “Geez, 7 defensive ends in one class? Over a quarter of the class in two positions?”

    http://notredame.rivals.com/

    Then I went to the roster and realized we only have 3 defensive ends (4 if you count Hafis Williams, who I think was recruited as a DT) with playing time, and two other guys, Bruce Heggie and Joe Marek, whom I know nothing about.

    The question is will any of the seven freshmen DE end up bulking up and moving to NT?