Remember when Aaron Lynch signed with Notre Dame and everyone thought it was a new era of defense for the Irish?
Well, we were half right.
It was the beginning of a new era for the Irish defense, but Lynch left before he could reap the rewards.
And Stephon Tuitt has made Lynch hard to miss.
True to the title of this post, the 6-foot-6, 303-pound sophomore defensive end appears in 11 defensive statistical categories this year, more than even all-everything linebacker Manti Te’o can claim.
First off, Tuitt started and played in every game this year, after only starting in three and playing in nine last season – a testament to his strength and conditioning in the off-season.
Tuitt’s other numbers:
22 solo tackles
20 assisted tackles
13 tackles for a total loss of 93 yards (highest on the team)
12 sacks for a total loss of 89 yards (highest on the team)
Nine quarterback hurries
Three forced fumbles
One pass-break up
One pass defended
One fumble recovery (ran back 77 yards for a touchdown)
One blocked kick (only one on the team)
That’s as a sophomore.
Tuitt didn’t get the hype or the accolades Lynch did as a freshman, but Tuitt has broken out as a premiere defensive linemen in the country this season. And now he’s an All-American.
It seems like the only thing Tuitt can’t do is eat a teaspoon of salt.
Previously on “12 Days of Notre Dame…”
… 10 (opponent) points per game
… Nine more takeaways than turnovers
… (Only) Eight missed field goals
… Seven (opponent) passing TDs
… Six less dramatic wins
… The Golden No. 5s
… Four (uncomfortably) close games
…Three reliable running backs
…Two doubting pundits
…One Bob Diaco