Duarte has five on top

Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei tight end Thomas Duarte had a very impressive performance at the recent Edison Battle of the Beach 7 on 7 tournament and was arguably the top prospect in the event. The athlete picked up a big new offer in recent weeks and now plans to go through the recruiting process.

Thomas Duarte is close to an impossible matchup at the high school level. At 6-3, 225 pounds, he's too quick for most linebackers and too big and physical for a safety or corner. On top of that, he runs very good routes, knows how to set up a defender and has great hands.

Several times at Edison, Duarte had multiple defenders on him but was able to make a tough catch in traffic while taking a hit or having a player draped all over him. Whether he plays tight end, receiver or h-back in college, Duarte is definitely a talented kid who has the ability to make an early impact at the next level.

On the recruiting front, Duarte picked up a recent offer from Notre Dame and the Irish will likely get an official visit. The athlete also camped with Washington a few weeks back and raved about his time in Seattle.

"I had a great time in Washington, it's a great place," Duarte said. "I really loved the environment there, I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did but it was really a great overall visit. The coaches were great with me and I enjoyed being around the players as well.

"I like the offense a lot and the coaches said they like me as a big receiver/h-back and I would be a good complement to Austin Seferian-Jenkins. They said we could definitely play together so overall, it was a really good visit."

Duarte was originally hoping to make an early decision, sometime in the summer, but has now had a change of plans.

"I'm going to take all my visits and go through the process," Duarte said. "I'll probably wait until close to Signing Day to make my decision. The five schools I want to visit right now are UCLA, Oregon, Notre Dame, Washington and probably USC.

"Oregon hasn't offered yet but they seem really interested and came by our campus a few times. I'm still talking with Coach Polamalu and Kiffin at USC and they said they're still trying to figure out if they have a scholarship for me. UCLA has been on me for a long time and I have a great relationship with the coaches and Notre Dame has great tradition and I'm definitely interested in learning more about them."

Greg Biggins has been covering recruiting for over 15 years, covering the West since the mid-1990's and currently serves as a national analyst for Scout.com/FOXSportsNext.
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