Family matters for Notre Dame CB target Christian Tutt

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

A family tie helped spark Christian Tutt’s interest in Notre Dame.

When Irish defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder coached at Georgia, linebacker Danny Verdun Wheeler joined the Bulldogs in 2003. More than a decade later, Verdun Wheeler’s nephew — Tutt — is trying to sort out his own college football future.

“He saw me when I was a young bull,” Tutt said of VanGorder.

The four-star cornerback recruit made a visit to Notre Dame in April to see VanGorder’s latest coaching project. That’s when the Irish offered him a scholarship.

“When I went on my visit there, I really liked my visit,” Tutt said. “I liked the vibe I got. I wanted to get back up there for a game and see how that is.”

Tutt, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound junior at Thompson (Ga.) High, will return to South Bend this weekend for the Michigan State game.

“I’m hoping for a good game,” Tutt said. “I want to see the defense come up and make plays. I want to see how the DBs are and how they’re getting coached. Just see the atmosphere, the fan base, all that.”

Saturday’s game will be Tutt’s first college game of the season. But he plans to make many trips this fall. USC, UCLA, Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State and Miami are all on the wish list.

Tutt’s travel itinerary will likely mirror the list of 11 schools he named as leaders in his recruitment less than a month ago: Ohio State, USC, Texas A&M, Miami, Georgia, UCLA, Florida State, Notre Dame, Alabama, Florida and Clemson.

The various road trips will all lead to a decision set for May 30, 2017. Tutt has already identified the date to honor his older brother, Chris, who died in a car accident in June. Tutt plans to make his commitment on what would have been his brother’s 21st birthday.

Family impacts Tutt’s recruitment every step of the way. He will be travelling to Notre Dame with his father this weekend.

“He’s very important. He really runs things for me,” Tutt said.

Tutt also relies on his uncle, who now coaches at Point University in West Point, Ga., for recruiting advice.

When it comes to football, Tutt is looking for a coach that can guide him to a path for success. Notre Dame defensive backs coach Todd Lyght wouldn’t mind being that guy.

Learning from someone like Lyght, who has played at the highest levels in college and the NFL, is valuable to Tutt.

“I want somebody who played the position and got far with it,” Tutt said. “He played in the league. He can teach me the game and teach me the things he knows.”

Tutt will get another chance to determine if the recruiting pitch from Lyght and VanGorder fits his future.

“He talks about me coming in and playing early,” Tutt said of Lyght, “working for a starting position and really coming in and changing the program and trying to build it on up.”

Four-star cornerback Christian Tutt, a 2018 recruit, will travel from Georgia to visit Notre Dame this weekend. (Photo courtesy of Rivals)