Tuitt '50/50,' will decide future after bowl

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Stephon Tuitt remains "50-50" on his future, and a decision on the NFL won't come until after Notre Dame's season is over, the junior defensive end said Friday night.

"I'm not showing anything," Tuitt said, laughing, on possibly revealing his hand. "I know y'all want it."

Tuitt, who took home top defensive lineman honors at the Irish's awards banquet for the second straight year, said his family will play the biggest role in his decision, and he also will speak with head coach Brian Kelly and some of his high school coaches.

Mel Kiper Jr. currently rates the 6-foot-6, 312-pound Tuitt as the No. 9 overall eligible prospect for next spring's NFL Draft, while Scouts Inc. has Tuitt at No. 12.

The Monroe, Ga., native said it has not been difficult to compartmentalize thoughts of his decision while preparing for the Dec. 28 New Era Pinstripe Bowl against Rutgers.

"It's easy for me. I could put a lot of stuff back," Tuitt said. "But I will say it has creeped from time to time to go in my mind, but I try to erase it and eradicate it. You can't do anything unless you finish off strong."

Tuitt said he is about a year away from receiving his degree in psychology, and graduating is a point his mother has drilled home with him often in the past year.

He also said defensive coordinator Bob Diaco leaving to become UConn's head coach will not affect his decision, adding that he is happy for Diaco and his move.

Diaco met with Notre Dame players Thursday to explain his decision, leaving a strong impression before he moved on to Storrs, Conn.

"We had some closure," linebacker Jarrett Grace said. "I think that showed the kind of guy he is, how he's upstanding and has really high character, and we appreciated him doing that."