SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt is leaving school early and entering the NFL draft.

Notre Dame director of football media relations Michael Bertsch said Tuesday that Tuitt has informed coach Brian Kelly of his decision. Tuitt is the second Irish defensive lineman to declare for the NFL draft, joining nose guard Louis Nix III.

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Both have been projected as some as possible first-round picks by some, although the 6-foot-6, 312-pound Tuitt was projected as a second-round pick by the NFL draft advisory board.

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Tuitt, from Monroe, Ga., got off to a slow start in 2013 after offseason surgery for a sports hernia, but had 49 tackles and 7.5 sacks and finishes his career with 126 tackles and 21.5 sacks, leaving him tied for third on Notre Dame’s sack list.

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