- Johnny Curren, WeAreSC, Reporter
With the recruiting process drawing nearer and nearer to an end for Moraga (Calif.) Campolindo Class of 2015 standout Tyler Petite, the ESPN 300 tight end made it down to Los Angeles on Wednesday to get a closer look at USC, and to take part in Day 1 of the Rising Stars Camp, before heading back home on Thursday morning.
The camp provided Petite with the opportunity to work directly with a pair of potential future coaches at USC, as well as a possible future teammate, and it’s safe to say the experience left a positive impression.
“I went out in the afternoon and practiced just to kind of see how Coach [Marques] Tuiasosopo was coaching, and how Coach [Clay] Helton was coaching, and also to throw the ball around with Ricky [Town[ -- just to kind of get a feel for what could be,” said the 6-foot-6 Petite. “I had a lot of fun in that afternoon practice, caught some balls and made some big plays, and I think I basically just reassured the coaching staff why they want me.”
In fact, it was hauling in passes from Town, a USC-commit and the nation’s No. 6 ranked quarterback, that stood out as one of the highlights of the camp for Petite.
“In one-on-ones and 7-on-7s, anytime he was up, I was up there, too,” Petite said. “Coach Helton was calling plays, and he wanted Ricky there and he wanted me there. [Town] seems like a pretty cool guy and a guy who I can definitely see as my quarterback.”
And Town wasn’t the only elite prospect Petite got to know on the field on Wednesday. He went head-to-head with ESPN 300 linebacker Porter Gustin (Salem, Utah, Salem Hills) on more than a few occasions.
“When Ricky went up and I went up, Porter would be there, too,” Petite said. “It was good to go up against some good competition. For me, I think that’s why guys really go to camps. Your skills are being put to the test and it’s like, ‘OK, are you the real deal or not?’ He’s a great player. I won a couple against him, and I think he won a couple against me, and it just goes to show that when two players that are pretty good go up against each other, that’s what happens.”
But the trip to USC wasn’t just about the camp for Petite, who also unofficially visited the Trojans campus once prior to receiving his offer from USC in early April. With the Trojans and Duke Blue Devils locked in a dead-heat for his services, he wanted to get a better feel for the program, as well as for the players in it, as he continues to mull over a decision. And on Wednesday night he was able to accomplish that as he spent some time with USC quarterback Cody Kessler, as well as virtually the entire tight end and fullback groups for the Trojans.
“It was cool just being able to go down and hang out with some of the players again,” Petite said. “I think that was a big thing for me. Those are the guys I would be seeing all the time, and I need to be able to like those guys.”
More importantly, the visit provided an opportunity for his family to get a better feel for USC.
“It was a big trip for my mom and my sister, because my sister went out to Duke with me -- she loved Duke, she loved Coach [David] Cutcliffe and all of those guys, but I just wanted her to see both sides,” Petite said. “I wanted her to come down and interact with the SC coaching staff and just see what SC football is all about.”
Now back home, Petite plans to take the next few days to take a closer look at each school under consideration with his family.
“In regard to my top choices, Duke and SC are my top two right now,” Petite said. “I’m still considering everyone who has offered me, though -- Stanford and Northwestern are still definitely there. We’re not counting anyone out at this point.”
In any case, it sounds like a final decision could be coming much sooner than later.
“It could be coming pretty soon here,” Petite said. “I think one could come as soon as maybe this [time] next week.”
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