Stephon Tuitt on switch: ‘I think Tech is where my heart was the whole time’

Monroe Area defensive end Stephon Tuitt switched his commitment from Notre Dame to Georgia Tech on Tuesday. (Photo provided by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl).

Monroe Area defensive end Stephon Tuitt switched his commitment from Notre Dame to Georgia Tech on Tuesday. (Photo provided by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl).

Stephon Tuitt and his Monroe Area team had a huge basketball game scheduled Tuesday night. West Hall would be well-advised to look out below because Tuitt is likely to be flying high tonight.

On the same day that Tuitt was awarded a fifth star from the recruiting analysts at Rivals.com, Tuitt decided to switch his commitment from Notre Dame to Georgia Tech. Tuitt will be the highest-touted recruit ever to ink with Yellow Jackets when he signs on national signing day, according to JacketsOnline.com.

According to Tuitt, it was a difficult decision but one he’s been thinking about for a while.

“I think it’s where my heart was the whole time,” said the 6-foot-5, 260-pound defensive end. “I feel like I made a decision I can be comfortable with.”

Tuitt had been committed to Notre Dame since mid-September and entered the New Year still planning to play for the Fighting Irish. But Tech, which had been his leader before his official visit to South Bend last fall, never let up on him. So he agreed to make an official visit to The Flats this past weekend. And, that, as it turns out, was the clincher.

“Well, I knew the visit was going to go well,” said Tuitt, who has been to the Tech campus at least a half-dozen times since last summer. “I have a good time every time I go there and I’ve always been comfortable with all the coaches and all the players there. So I knew it’d be a great time and it was.

“I feel like Tech is building a great football team and I’m glad to be a part of it.”

The worst part, Tuitt said, was having to call the Notre Dame coaches.

“That was pretty hard,” he said. “[Notre Dame is] a great school and they have great coaches and players and I still believe that. It was a very hard phone call. But I had to do what was best for me and Georgia Tech is the best place for me.”

Tuitt made the decision after hunkering down with his mother the last two days and having a long conversation with Monroe Area head coach Matt Fligg Tuesday morning. He called Notre Dame coaches immediately after that meeting, then Tech head coach Paul Johnson.

He was excited,” Tuitt said of Johnson. “He said he was glad to have me be part of the program.”

Said Fligg: “I saw this coming, I just wasn’t sure what he’d do. He’s been thinking about it a while and just wanted to get it over with. He just wanted to be closer to home.”

Tuitt wasn’t even aware he had been awarded a five-star rating from Rivals until I informed him during our phone call. He had been carrying a four-star ranking from all the recruiting services since last summer. But he impressed Rivals’ scouts with his performance in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio on Jan. 8.

“I’m honored,” he said. “I had no idea. I don’t pay attention to to that type of thing.”

Tuitt was one of three Georgians to be elevated to a five-star rank by Rivals on Tuesday. Carver-Columbus running back Isaiah Crowell and Thomas County Central defensive end Ray Drew also were bumped up from four stars in what will be the final ranking released by the recruiting site this year.

Tuitt is the 22nd commitment for the Yellow Jackets’ Class of 2011, fourth in the last three days and the second from Monroe Area High School. His teammate and good friend Demontevious Smith committed to Tech during his official visit this past Sunday.

Tuitt is the fourth member of Tech’s class carrying more than a three-star rating. Linebacker Jabari Hunt-Days of Hillgrove High gets four stars from Rivals and quarterback Vad Lee of Durham, N.C., and defensive end Darrius Caldwell of Mays get four stars from ESPNU/Scouts Inc.

GEORGIA TECH 2011 COMMITMENTS

  1. OL Trey Braun, (6-5, 275), Tallahassee, Fla.
  2. OLB Darius Caldwell (6-5, 210), Mays HS
  3. OL Bryan Chamberlain (6-4, 280), Albany-Monroe HS
  4. LB Chaz Cheeks (6-3, 220), East Hall HS
  5. ATH Corey Dennis (6-2, 205), Troy, Ala.
  6. ATH Jamal Golden (6-0, 180), Wetumpka, Ala.
  7. WR Jeff Greene (6-6, 200), Starr’s Mill HS
  8. LB Jabari Hunt-Days, (6-3, 226), Hillgrove HS
  9. DT Tre Jackson (6-5, 295), Wayne County
  10. OL Errin Joe (6-4, 285), Lakeland, Fla.
  11. RB Zach Laskey (6-2, 210), Starr’s Mill HS
  12. QB Vad Lee (6-2, 200), Durham, N.C.
  13. LB Tyler Marcordes (6-4, 231), Normal, Ill.
  14. LB Tremayne McNair (6-2, 225) Jacksonville, N.C.
  15. OL Shaquille Mason (6-2, 305), Columbia, Tenn.
  16. ATH Chris Milton (6-0, 175), Charlton Co. HS
  17. DB Dominique Noble (6-2, 187), Mount Ulla, N.C.
  18. ATH Demontevious Smith (6-1, 185), Monroe Area HS
  19. RB Broderick Snoddy (5-9, 190), Carrollton HS
  20. DE Stephon Tuitt (6-5, 260), Monroe Area HS
  21. S Darren Waller (6-5, 204), North Cobb HS
  22. ATH Airyn Willis (6-2, 180), High Point, N.C.

485 comments Add your comment

John

January 18th, 2011
3:23 pm

Horton

January 18th, 2011
3:24 pm

Nice get! Go Jackets!

CoachJRB

January 18th, 2011
3:24 pm

GREAT news for the Yellow Jackets. Good job by Paul Johnson and staff to make this happen.

atl gator

January 18th, 2011
3:24 pm

Buzzzed

January 18th, 2011
3:25 pm

Wahoo! Welcome to the Flats!

John

January 18th, 2011
3:25 pm

First ever 5 star for GT, Rivals has as the second highest GA player, with only Drew above him. *ferst btw*

GT75

January 18th, 2011
3:27 pm

Welcome to Tech, Stephon. Best of luck to you on and off the field. Glad your family and friends can come see you kick butt on Saturdays. Even when you get into the NFL I think you will be proud to say you graduated from Tech.

JB

January 18th, 2011
3:27 pm

This is big for you guys, congrats from this Dawg.

The Institute

January 18th, 2011
3:28 pm

Definitely not the first 5 star ever for GT, remember a little guy named Calvin Johnson? First 5 star ever for CPJ though. I’m excited.

D

January 18th, 2011
3:28 pm

Booyah! Welcome to GT!

Geori

January 18th, 2011
3:30 pm

Welcome to the flats, Stephen. Hopefully you can convince a few more studs like James Vaughters, Darian Cooper and Xzavier Ward to join us.

Jacket Backer

January 18th, 2011
3:30 pm

Great news and thanks for the kind words JB….

Go Jackets!

D A DoubleU G

January 18th, 2011
3:31 pm

Great News!!!

I would rather UGA never get another recruit again, and Tech get all the talent in the state, than to watch all the talent leave the State.

Congrats on your decision Stephon. Just be prepared to continue the GT tradition of losing on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

GO DAWGS!!!!

Footballrules

January 18th, 2011
3:32 pm

JB: Thanks! Go Jackets!!!!!!

RambleOn84

January 18th, 2011
3:32 pm

Of course he will now be bumped down to a 3 star player since de-committing from Notre Dame.

Gwinnett Dawg

January 18th, 2011
3:32 pm

Good get for you guys! Hopefully we can get some more good news from some of these local studs. Dont really understand how these elite prospects get out of the state. Both UGA and Tech are great schools rich in tradition and both have won a National Championships. But as a true dawg fan let me be the first to say congrats!

RambleOn84

January 18th, 2011
3:33 pm

Where’s that know-it-all “naganole” who kept telling us there was NO WAY Tuitt would leave ND?

Old Boy

January 18th, 2011
3:34 pm

Coming out of high school, Calvin was a 4-star prospect. Obviously, in hindsight he would have been a 5-star. Regardless, great get for the Jackets.

lucky21

January 18th, 2011
3:35 pm

amazing pick up

Horton

January 18th, 2011
3:35 pm

Calvin was 5 start on Scout. Not that it matters much.

Dawg Pride

January 18th, 2011
3:35 pm

Congrats Tech fans! That’s a good get. I am confused about the 5-star rating though. I thought he was a 4 star from Rivals and Scouts? Oh well. Congrats from a Dawg fan nonetheless. Keep our boys in state!

Eastside Jacket

January 18th, 2011
3:35 pm

Great news. Congrats Mr. Tuitt.

wreckmaniac

January 18th, 2011
3:35 pm

Great to have a young man with this level of academic and athletic talent. He made a wise choice and will never regret it. Tech is that special.

John

January 18th, 2011
3:36 pm

I guess I should clarify that this is GT’s first ever 5-star according to Rivals. I know according to ESPN we still have never had a 5-star (They give Tuitt 4). Not sure what how Scout ranked CJ or ranks Tuitt.

Eastside Jacket

January 18th, 2011
3:36 pm

Dawg Pride – I think the final rankings came out yesterday. He was bumped from a “4″ to a “5″ then.

b

January 18th, 2011
3:37 pm

It’s well known Fligg is Tech and So. Ca. fan. He probably
helped push Tuitt to Tech. I still say Tuitt and Bailey tthe uga
commit are way overrated at the de position. The other de, whitehead,
a jr at Monroe was better than the both of them.

RambleOn84

January 18th, 2011
3:37 pm

He is apparently a 5 star on Rivals and 4 star on Scout.

Calvin, I believe, was just the opposite.

NOTA5STAR

January 18th, 2011
3:37 pm

Before he leaves TECH he will be -5 star!!! By the way keep dreaming about getting Xavier Ward!!!
Dawgs rule!!! 42-34 HAHAHAHA!!!

Bitter vince dooly

January 18th, 2011
3:37 pm

now thats keep-in them home techsters, bravo—can you here the applause—-i can, how bout you barbra—dont matter, she dont here well anyhow, goooooo tech!!!!!!!, well aleast today

funny lately i find myself rooting for a lot of teams!!!!!

The Truth

January 18th, 2011
3:38 pm

JACKETfan12

January 18th, 2011
3:39 pm

This is HUGE.

Darian Cooper,

Please come to GT and form a championship D-Line with Tuitt.

Thanks, on behalf of the GT fan base.

GT75

January 18th, 2011
3:39 pm

Dawg Pride – he was a 4 star until they revised the rankings this week and he got his 5th star yesterday. Good luck on Rome and Crowell.

DaltonDawg

January 18th, 2011
3:39 pm

Congrats Tech fans. Good to see local talent stay in GA. Hopefully that’ll make things more competitive come Nov.

Dog Kicker

January 18th, 2011
3:39 pm

can get to the Q.B now without having to blitz the house?

Lakedawg

January 18th, 2011
3:39 pm

Rambleon84–You are right on with your rating comment. If they are going to ND or ALA they are 5’s, but to another school 3’s. Glad he is staying in state although he will be trouble for the Dawgs.

JTM

January 18th, 2011
3:39 pm

I can’t believe he changed his mind. ND is hard to resist for football players.

Congrats Tuitt, I hope you enjoy your years in Atlanta! I know I’ll be cheering you on

NWGA Dawg

January 18th, 2011
3:40 pm

Congrats Techies…

collegefball

January 18th, 2011
3:41 pm

Dawg Pride: Tuitt was bumped up to a 5* in the new Rivals rankings released this morning.

Bitter vince dooly

January 18th, 2011
3:42 pm

chip your on a roll my man, now wipe that smile off your face and go slap crowell mom, thanks!!!

RxDawg

January 18th, 2011
3:42 pm

Wow! Good job nerds.

Greg

January 18th, 2011
3:43 pm

Glad that we got Georgia players staying in Georgia! Hope this trend continues for both schools.

JM

January 18th, 2011
3:44 pm

Wow, great recruiting by the Jacket coaches.

JM

January 18th, 2011
3:47 pm

Rambleon check his ratings again. He’s 5 star on both Rivals and Scout. ESPN has him with 4 stars

Gloso

January 18th, 2011
3:47 pm

He actually got bumped UP to a five-star by rivals.com after committing to GT. This is coming from an ND fan so I’ve been tracking our class on there since before he committed. As of last night, Rivals had no five-stars committed to ND.

Either way, good get GT. Sounds like he went with his heart on this one, and that’s always a good thing.

rduck

January 18th, 2011
3:47 pm

yes!!! welcome to the Flats Stephon. So glad you have decided to come to Tech. Looking forward to seeing you this fall. Congrats on representing your state also. We need more kids like you..

Dawg fan

January 18th, 2011
3:47 pm

Nice get Tech…

RambleOn84

January 18th, 2011
3:48 pm

Stephon Tuitt is a true Tech man, and he just did us a huge favor. It’s so obvious, but try to follow me here:

A huge criticism made of Paul Johnson has been his recruiting. Tuitt, as we all know, was a huge Tech lean back in September when he unexpectedly decided to go to ND. But this was just a big trick, as he knew he would be rated a 5 star player after committing to them.

He waited until the same morning he was re-evaluated as a 5 star player to make his REAL commitment public. He was a Tech commit all along, and he just helped out his future coach.

Stephon, you sly devil, you!

BigTimeTECHFan

January 18th, 2011
3:48 pm

Very nice, I remember when he committed to ND his biggest worry was breaking it to GT’s coaches, I think his heart was always with Tech.

Also, nice weekend for Tech, recuits sounded like they really came together over the weekend, much like the Nesbitt, Dwyer, Burnett class, also heard that if Tuitt switched expect 2 other high ranked recuits to commit Tech.

Hal

January 18th, 2011
3:48 pm

Stephen thank you for deciding on Tech. It must have been a hard decision but you have made the folks who love football in Georgia proud that you have chosen one of their fine institutions. All of this years recruits should take a long long look at both Tech and Georgia before choosing an out of state school. There is no reason both schools should not be in the top ten evey year.

DawginLex

January 18th, 2011
3:49 pm

Glad he is staying in state instead of going to ND.

I still believe us Dawgs are going to be seriously dissappointed on NSD and it all starts this Thursday.

I don’t believe we have any momentum needed in order to secure a great class.

If we can only land one more player, I say John Jenkins is a must.

Then Richt will have to win with what he has returning plus Jenkins.

He has Thornton, Stripling and Morant red-shirted and hopefully ready to contribute in 2011. Jenkins coming in allows he and Geathers to rotate at nose and allows Bean Anderson to move back to OL.