Duarte Next In Line

The Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei athlete, Thomas Duarte, is the next in a long line of Monarch prospects...

For the first time since 2006, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei didn't have a player sign with an FBS school.

The school that has produced Heisman Trophy winners like John Huarte and Matt Leinart as well as current USC quarterback Matt Barkley, hit a dry spell in the 2012 class.

Thanks to athlete Thomas Duarte, the Monarchs will be back in the game came next February.

The 6-4, 225-pound Duarte, who had his coming out party in the Monarchs' rivalry game with Anaheim Servite at Angel Stadium, already has a pair of offers.

"I've been offered by UCLA and Colorado," said Duarte. "Colorado offered me on Wednesday as an outside linebacker and UCLA offered me on Thursday as a receiver."

For Duarte, it was both a thrill and a relief.

"I was real excited and it was kind of an eye opener for me," said Duarte.

Duarte is also hearing from a number of other schools.

"Other schools I'm hearing from are Oregon State, Oregon, USC, Michigan and Georgia Tech and I'm interested in Stanford and Washington and some of the other Pac-12 schools," said Duarte.

Duarte said he grew up as a USC fan, and a couple of his former Mater Dei teammates, Max Wittek and Victor Blackwell, are currently with the Trojans.

"I grew up around the Trojans and loving them and USC was my favorite growing up," said Duarte. "My sophomore year I played with Max and Vic and they were great teammates and it was a blast playing with them. Vic really took me under his wing and I was able to stand out and get looked at. Playing with them was a great experience."

Duarte was at USC's Junior Day earlir this month.

"I had a great time up there just talking with the coaches and looking at the school," said Duarte. "I met Coach O (Ed Orgeron) and some of the other coaches."

And this coming weekend, he'll be in Westwood for the Bruins' Junior Day.

"I'm going up there on Sunday and I'm looking forward to that," said Duarte.

Duarte said he's already developing a good relationship with the coaches recruiting him.

"I really like Coach (Adrian) Klemm at UCLA, he's the one who offered me and with Coach (Brian) Cabral at Colorado, he offered me there," said Duarte.

Where Duarte plays remains to be seen.

"One thing that was big with UCLA is how physical I play and how I played on both sides, and I wasn't afraid to get my nose in there and give hits," said Duarte. "Just being a big physical receiver with mismatches on the outside is fun. They even talked about moving me to a hybrid tight end. And Colorado likes me as an outside linebacker and use me on third and long passing situations."

Duarte said he wants to take some time before making a decision.

"I want to go through the process and get on a lot of campuses," said Duarte. "I am planning to go to the USC Camp, UCLA Camp and the UnderArmour Combine."

Last fall, Duarte had 50 receptions for 820 yards with seven touchdowns.

Academically, Duarte is squared with his GPA and will take the SAT in the spring.

Brandon is in his eighth year with Scout.com and FOXSportsNext, currently as a National Recruiting Analyst and West Regional Manager. Prior to joining the Scout Recruiting Team, he was a team recruiting writer.  He's been covering recruiting for the Scout Network since 2003.
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