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Mother: Notre Dame DL Stephon Tuitt 'has not decided' on NFL

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

Stephon Tuitt's mother said her son has not decided on whether to return for 2014. (USATSI)
Stephon Tuitt's mother said her son has not decided on whether to return for 2014. (USATSI)

Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt created quite a buzz among Fight Irish fans Wednesday when he told a reporter that he would return in 2014 for a senior season.

On Thursday, Tuitt's mother said the decision to enter the NFL Draft has not been made yet.

"Stephon has not decided what he is going to do," Tamara Tuitt-Bartlett told the Chicago Tribune. "What he meant to say was that school is the focal point and he will get his degree from ND."

The Tribune points out that Tuitt-Bartlett has interviewed agents in the event the 6-6, 336-pound defensive end decides to forego his final year of eligibility. Tuitt-Bartlett has stressed the importance of earning a degree, but no promises have been made regarding the 2014 season.

Tuitt is ranked as the No. 3 defensive end in the 2014 draft class, according to CBSSports.com's draft rankings. NFL Draft expert Rob Rang has him listed as the No. 20 player on Rang's Big Board, despite a slow start to the season.

"Offseason sports hernia surgery may have played a role in Tuitt entering this season 20 pounds heavier, and the extra weight seemed to be slowing him," Rang wrote last week. "He has played much better in the Irish's past three games and is simply too gifted to fall far on draft day should the junior elect to leave South Bend early."

Notre Dame had no official comment on the situation and Tuitt was not made available to the media on Wednesday, leaving fans to wonder about the future of the star defensive end.

After an off week, the Fighting Irish host USC on Saturday in South Bend.

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