Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt is coming back for his senior season, The Observer — Notre Dame's student newspaper — reported Wednesday.
“I’m coming back next year,” Tuitt said. “I’m a junior. I still have one year.”
A call placed to a number listed for Tuitt's mother, Tamara Bartlett, was not answered. Tuitt was not made available to the media Wednesday at Notre Dame.
Later Wednesday evening, Tuitt tweeted: "Can't Believe everything you read. Goodnight" but proceeded to delete the tweet. The deadline for early entry into the 2014 NFL Draft isn't until January.
Tuitt has been projected as a first-round pick if he were to leave Notre Dame early and enter the 2014 NFL Draft. Despite a slow start to the season — Tuitt has just three sacks in six games — he still ranks No. 14 on Scouts Inc.'s top-32 draft prospects list.
If Tuitt indeed is back for 2014, it would be a massive boost for a front four that'll lose nose guard Louis Nix and "cat" outside linebacker Prince Shembo after this season.
Replacing half its pass rush certainly will be difficult, but it would be easier than replacing 75 percent of it — especially when one of the guys returning is an All-American candidate.