- Matt Fortuna, ESPN Staff Writer
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Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said Thursday that Stephon Tuitt did not mean to make a declaration about his future this week, and that NFL decisions for Tuitt and any other Fighting Irish player will not be made until the end of the season.
Tuitt had told the school's student newspaper, The Observer, on Wednesday that he planned to return to the Fighting Irish for his senior season.
"I'm coming back next year," Tuitt told the newspaper. "I'm a junior. I still have one year."
Tuitt, though, later went on Twitter on Wednesday night and wrote, "Can't Believe everything you read. Goodnight." The tweet was later deleted.
The 6-foot-6, 322-pound defensive end has 18 total tackles this season, including 4.5 for a loss and three sacks, to go with seven quarterback hurries and one forced fumble. He picked off Michigan's Devin Gardner in the Wolverines' end zone for a Week 2 touchdown, the second score of his career.
Tuitt made a run last season at Justin Tuck's single-season school sack record of 13.5, tallying 12 during a breakout 2012 campaign that put his name on the national radar and had him in position to get drafted high should he elect to go to the NFL after his junior season.
Both ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and Scouts Inc. currently have Tuitt rated as the nation's No. 14 prospect for the NFL draft class of 2014.
The early entry deadline for the draft is not until January.
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