HAYWARD, Calif. -- Moraga (Calif.) Campolindo tight end Tyler Petite is a highly-coveted prospect and the top tight end in the state of California, the latter a fact he was out to prove at the Oakland Nike Football Training Camp on Sunday at Chabot College.
Prior to the event, Petite spoke with SB Nation Recruiting about the current status of his recruitment.
"I'd probably put USC and Duke at the top right now. Both great schools, great coaching staffs," he said when asked about his favorites.
A recent visit to North Carolina to check out the Blue Devils made a serious impression on the 6'5, 225-pounder.
"I went out to Duke and got a chance to hang out with the players and they are all really cool guys I could definitely see myself hanging out with and playing with, so now I just need to go down to USC and check out their locker room, so who is in it, and talk to some of the players a little bit just to make sure and see that those guys are like me," Pettite said. "That's really important because more than any coach or strength and conditioning coach, trainer, whatever, those are the guys that you're going to be spending the most time with, so it's really important to me to make sure that I'm good friends with them."
The Campolindo product has already had a chance to talk with the USC coaches about how he would be used in the Trojan offense.
"Honetly, the last time that I went down, coach Tuaisosopo showed me some film of Austin Seferian-Jenkins at Washington and said, 'This is how we're going to use you,'" he said. "You can be up, you can be down, you can be in a variety of different positions and that's something that I can see myself playing in because my high school has me down pretty much all the time, so I'm comfortable doing either. I was also up some this year, too. After watching the film, it's definitely an offense that I can see myself in."
Duke hasn't sold him on anything much different from USC, but the coaches in Durham have told Petite that he's a major priority because of need.
"Duke has said that they'll use me in almost the same way," Petite said. "I think at Duke I could be more of a go-to guy because the tight end they have right now is going into his fifth year and basically how coach Roper told it to me, they're going to have to find a sixth year for him if I don't end up going there. I think that meant a lot for me in terms of how much they want me and how they would use me in their offense."
The recent success Duke has experienced has made an impression on Petite, but the head coach has probably made an even bigger impression.
"Honestly, I didn't really think that I would be interested in them," he said. "I went to Northwestern and I thought it was a really good place, but I didn't really think about going out to Duke, but then decided why not because it's a really good school and the academics are great, but I think what coach Cutcliffe is doing is a huge pull, too. He's just a good man, probably one of the best men I know besides my own dad. He really knows what he's doing and another huge thing for me was that Peyton and Eli Manning had just left with their respective receivers. It just goes to show that Petyon Manning, one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL, still goes back to get coached by coach Cutcliffe and I think that really speaks to what he does and how he coaches."
Despite having a top two, there are several other schools that may still have a shot at landing California's top tight end in 2015.
"I'd put Northwestern and Stanford up there," he said. "I've already visited Northwestern and I think what they do out there is really cool and really great. I like the coaches a lot and the players. Stanford I haven't gotten out to see yet, but I think I'll be able to do that in the near future. Definitely very high to me are USC and Duke."
It would make sense if Petite was interested in the Cardinal primarily because the school has done such an excellent job of producing NFL tight ends in recent years. He said that's not the case, however.
"I have looked at the run of success that they've had there at tight end, but I think that a lot of schools now are adopting the tight end and really utilizing them in their offense, so I think that wherever you go, you'll be able to contribute. The top tight ends last year didn't go to Stanford and the year before, there were still guys from places like San Diego State that were still among the best in the draft. I think that wherever I go, if I can produce the way I think I can and work the way I know I can, I'll have a shot of going all the way."
Petite plans on making a decision some time in June and said that he will be done with the recruiting process at that point and won't take any more visits.