Stephon Tuitt draws praise as NFL Draft decision looms

Stephon Tuitt draws praise as NFL Draft decision looms
December 26, 2013, 6:45 pm
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NEW YORK -- Stephon Tuitt received a second-round grade this week from the NFL Draft evaluation Notre Dame submitted for him, likely lower than he wanted to hear. But it won't necessarily preclude him from deciding to turn pro sometime before mid-January, seeing as the report is just one factor he'll weigh.

Plus, as Rutgers offensive coordinator Ron Prince put it: "Most of the guys in pro football right now don't even know the names of some college kids."

Prince would know -- he coached offensive line for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts from 2010-2013, and also served as Kansas State's head coach from 2006-2008 (during which players such as Jordy Nelson and Josh Freeman came through Manhattan). 

Plus, Prince had plenty of good things to say about Tuitt. He compared him to Baltimore Ravens defensive end Chris Canty (who played at Virginia when Prince coached offensive line there), and gushed about Tuitt's skillset when asked on Thursday.

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"He's a very big, strong player who plays with tremendous leverage and can really knock back blockers," Prince said. "He's an expert in the technique that they teach him, two-gapping, tremendous hands, hat placement, leverage. You see that for a season's worth of him being able to hold the point. 

"I think it's helped their inside linebackers, (Carlo Calabrese) in particular and some others, to really be able to get their eyes out in front of some of the run plays, they don't have to worry about that offensive tackle working up to them. I think he's a fantastic player and I think he has a fantastic skill set."

The point here: Tuitt's decision isn't so cut-and-dry after the second-round grade. Tuitt said earlier this month he'll make his decision sometime after the Dec. 28 Pinstripe Bowl.