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The Tuitt saga

Notre Dame's signing day went smooth yesterday as all 22 players orally committed to the Irish signed with the school and the program added offensive lineman Troy Niklas on Wednesday, the first day players could send in their letters of intent.

But it was always easy to get the players to Notre Dame.

Defensive end Aaron Lynch originally committed to Florida State before flipping his allegiance to Notre Dame.

Defensive coordinator Bob Diaco became a part of Notre Dame recruiting lore when his 4:30 a.m. visit stopped linebacker Ishaq Williams from visiting Penn State and deciding to go to Notre Dame.

Then there was the saga of Stephon Tuitt, who committed to Notre Dame than changed his mind and picked Georgia Tech only to prompt coach Brian Kelly and his defensive staff to visit Tuitt and get the defensive lineman back at Notre Dame.

"I think if there were any questions about his tenacious on the recruiting trails, you can look to Stephon Tuitt," Scott Kennedy, a recruiting analyst for Scout.com, said. "A coach that has a little bit more of an ego might just say, 'To heck with that guy, let him go.' A guy that wants to be in the recruiting battles sticks on it all the way to the end."

Kelly went over the extra effort to land Tuitt during his news conference Wednesday.

"Well, when you believe that the young man understands what Notre Dame's about and the family understands what Notre Dame's about and he's been confused in the process by professional recruiters that have been doing it for 20 years, you feel like listen let's eliminate the confusion in the process," Kelly said. "So having that presence there was really, for us, making a statement and making sure that what we were talking about and what he saw when he came to Notre Dame, what his family saw, was really the truth of the matter.

"And sometimes you have to overcommunicate that message. And we had four coaches there to make certain that that message was clear."

The Journal Gazette's Assistant Sports Editor Tony Krausz covers The University of Notre Dame. Krausz, a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a native of St. Louis, has been assistant sports editor since October 2005. Prior to joining the JG, he worked at two papers in Mississippi covering high school and college athletics.

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