Duarte Shoots for Early Commitment

There weren't too many players more impressive at the NIKE Air Strike 7 on 7 tournament over the weekend than Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei tight end Thomas Duarte...

Thomas Duarte is an absolute load to cover, being too big for a corner, far too athletic for a linebacker or even safety. He's not just big, he can move, has strong hands and knows how to get open. He was arguably among the top three overall recruits at the event.

On the recruiting front, Duarte has a handful of scholarship offers on the table and is debating whether to make an early decision or not.

"My offers right now are from UCLA, Washington, Colorado, Arizona State and Oregon State," Duarte said. "Oregon is recruiting me really hard as well so we'll see if anything happens there. UCLA and Washington are probably recruiting me the hardest along with Washington but right now, I'm open to everyone.

"I've been to UCLA before and I'm going to camp with Washington at the end of the month and I'll make that an unofficial visit as well. Right now, I'm still debating if I want to commit early or after our season. I'm shooting to do it in the summer but if I don't know by then, I'll wait until after the season so I can focus on our football season."

Duarte said there are several things he's looking for in a school.

"The biggest thing I'm looking for is a place that feels like a second home to me," Duarte said. "I want to feel comfortable with the players and coaches, academics are obviously important and of course, I'm looking for a good football program.

"Like I said, I'm still open to everyone and don't have any leaders. All the schools are recruiting me has an h-back/tight end type and want to use me the same way I'm used at Mater Dei. I'll play some in the slot, move out wide, come out of the backfield, basically just be moved around all over. I'm working hard to get stronger and also doing a lot of work on my agility and so far, I'm feeling real good right now." 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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