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MONROE, Ga. - The U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection tour has been rolling through the state of Georgia with stops to announce the selections of Corey Moore, Avery Walls and Damian Swann. On Wednesday another name was added to the roster out of the Peach State and it is a name that is familiar to recruiting enthusiasts not only in Georgia but around the country.
Stephon Tuitt was officially announced as a member of the 2011 U.S. Army All-American Bowl roster on Wednesday afternoon at his Monroe Area school. Tuitt is the top strongside defensive end in the country and a prospect that is as close as any to earning five-star status. Needless to say, he is qualified.
At 6 feet 5, 260 pounds, Tuitt has dominated the camp circuit but more importantly, he's dominated on Friday nights. After an 0-10 season last fall, Tuitt has led his team to a 4-0 start to the 2010 season and a defense that has given up 16 total points and no more than seven to any one opponent is a big reason why.
Monroe Area head coach Matt Fligg credits Tuitt's attitude for his success as much as anything else.
"Stephon is the most unselfish player I've coached," Fligg said on Wednesday. "During his two year recruiting process he always spoke about the season and the team. He brought more attention to his teammates…He puts the term 'student' in student-athlete."
That complete package of ability and character made Tuitt an easy selection to compete in the Army game and Tuitt was honored for the opportunity.
"I was very honored," Tuitt said. "Not a lot of people get a chance to do something like this. It's amazing. I'm blessed. I just give thanks to my family, my coaches and my teammates. A lot of hard work paid off for this."
Tuitt has already tested himself against some of the top players in the country at events like the FBU Top Gun camp but he looks forward to this event as another opportunity to test himself and prove himself.
"I'm blessed to get a chance to play against the top players in the nation and go against them and make me better," he said. "I'm going to go out there and compete and compete against top competition and get stronger. I'm looking forward to going against the top players, meeting new people, having fun, doing my job and showing the world that I can play the game of football. And hopefully the East wins."
With great size, Tuitt is the type of player that has the speed and athleticism to rush the edge but also has the size and strength to play inside as the perfect strongside defensive end. According to his coach, Tuitt's athleticism may be unique but his motor sets him apart.
"The one element that makes Tuitt go is his desire to get to the ball," Fligg said. "He is one player that believes and goes snap to whistle."
Tuitt also attributes his success on the field to his football IQ.
"To me, I read plays real easily," he said. "I read plays so easily that I can have a good motor. I come off the ball, my power has increased, I have great speed. I just try to shut down my side. I want to make sure the team running to my side is really not a threat. I want to make sure they run on the other side every time."
That mentality drew offers from the top programs around the country and Tuitt surprised many by selecting Notre Dame this fall as his college destination. His commitment to Notre Dame creates one of the nation's top defensive end duos with Tuitt and Rivals100 prospect Aaron Lynch both committed to play for the Fighting Irish.
With his selection to the Army game, Tuitt joins a long lineage of Irish prospects that have starred in San Antonio. While there is still plenty of time before National Signing Day, Tuitt expects that his recruitment is over with his commitment to Brian Kelly.
"Right now I'm pretty much done," he said. "I'm not really looking into anything else. With the future, you never know but right now I'm pretty much done."
Barry Every contributed to this report.