It was no secret that Alabama was one of Richie Petitbon's top choices throughout his recruitment. The four-star offensive lineman out of Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga College High School then admitted that the Crimson Tide was his leader soon after.
Seemingly a matter of when and not if, Scout.com's No. 6 offensive guard projection decided Friday would be the day to shut things down.
"We were planning it for a while, I kind of decided about two or three weeks ago," he said. "I sat own my parents and said I wanted to go to the University of Alabama, they were excited. We went down to Coach Saban's office and told him.
"He gave me a huge hug, gave my whole family a hug, it was a great day."
Petitbon was one of Alabama's top targets for some time, and the timing was right for both parties.
"I've been high on their board for a while and I told him I was coming down with some great news, and I did. It was great," he said. "Now is a great time for me because I've been busy. The last year and a half, with schools, people I've met through the whole entire process. So making the decision now was about my senior season. I can be relaxed and have a great spring and summer without it hanging over my head.
"I'm so confident in Alabama, that's the place where I want to go. Since the first time I set foot on campus, last summer for camp, I was like ‘wow.‘ I had never been to an SEC school before, it's the best conference. Then you have Coach Saban, Coach [Mario] Cristobal, Coach [Lance] Thompson, such great people. It's awesome, Alabama is the perfect place for me and I'm just so excited."
A three-sport athlete at Gonzaga, with basketball and lacrosse supplementing the 6-foot-4, 301-pounder's football prowess on the offensive line, Petitbon can do many things well up front. His football coach, Aaron Brady, said he can play on either side at guard or tackle, and even center with his skill-set.
Petitbon and his mother at Alabama Friday (photo provided by the Petitbon's).
The Crimson Tide hauled in multiple players that could play more than one spot during a historic offensive line haul for the 2014 cycle, and it has another at its disposal in the top junior. Saban's staff agrees with Brady.
"Alabama kind of said the same thing, ‘Richie, you're one of those versatile guys, you can play any position on the line on any side,'" he said. "For me I don't worry about the position I'm going to play. I am going to compete every day, to fire off the line, crush people and impose my will on the defensive line. Crush everybody in front of me, that's the main goal. Any position I can do that, that's fine.
"Coach Saban was so excited about me, so excited that I made my decision. He said when I come in as a freshman, I'm going to be competing for a spot. ‘Ultimately, if one of our guys go down, we don't have many backups and you can go in at every position on the line.'"
Not only is Petitbon successful on the hardwood, but he's a scorer on Gonzaga's lacrosse squad. He even broke a school record earlier this week with eight goals scored in a single game.
Again, at 301 pounds.
"That was an awesome day, it was all of my great lacrosse teammates getting by their guy and feeding me," he said. "I've actually been playing lacrosse longer than football, since I was four or five years old. Our team is actually ranked in the country. My (lacrosse) Coach (Andy O'Neal) let me skip practice to go down and commit.
"The lacrosse season has been going great, I play attack, so I just stay on the offensive side of the field."
With his athleticism, status as a football recruit and focus to be dominant at everything he does, it wouldn't surprise many if other football programs continue to recruit Petition. But one of the Mid-Atlantic's best says there's no point for other schools to continue trying.
"Alabama is definitely where I'm going to be playing my college football," Petitbon said. "There are no second guesses, I love Alabama. My parents said I have to own my decision, and it was my decision, and I have. This is a place I love and it's where I want to go.
"That's my decision, there's no looking around, and that's not me. I'm committed to Alabama and that's where I'm going to go."
While he will field calls from other schools to be polite, the four-star added that he won't be taking trips to schools outside of Alabama. He'll continue playing all three sports next year and graduate on a normal pace after his final lacrosse season next spring.
Petitbon is currently pegged as the No. 103 overall prospect in the class of 2015 on Scout.
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