Petite no small pick up

Moraga (Calif.) three-star tight end Tyler Petite was swayed away from Duke to USC by tight end coach Marques Tuiasosopo and area recruiter Clay Helton Friday.

Moraga (Calif.) Campolindo three-star Tyler Petite becomes only the second tight end commit USC has had in the past three years.

With only two scholarship tight ends currently on the active roster, and one of those players being a redshirt senior, the Trojans pledge from Petite is no small pick up.

In 2015, USC will lose former-walk on Chris Wilson and Randal Telfer to graduation, so signing Ventura (Calif.) four-star tight end Bryce Dixon last February was crucial for the Trojans.

According to Scout National Recruiting Analyst Greg Biggins, landing Petite Friday was almost just as important even as a three-star rated tight end.

“I would almost think USC would want to bring in two guys, but it’s just not a deep year at the position,” said Biggins. “I would kill the star thing. He’s our No. 2 guy out west and I definitely think he can come in early and contribute at a position of need for USC.

“I think he is someone USC fans should definitely be excited about.”

In July, Petite stunned USC fans by verbally committing to Duke over the Trojans just a week after participating in the Rising Stars Camp.

As he headed back home after the morning session of the camp’s second day, Petite appeared close to committing to USC.

“I got there in the morning and met with the coaches around 11:15 a.m,” he said. “I worked out for the second half of the camp, which was a lot of fun. I was just going to come down to hang out, but it was a good opportunity to get coached up by Coach (Marques) Tuiasosopo and get a feel for him.

“Later that night, I went to dinner with the tight ends. It was just good to be around those guys and get a feel for things off the field. I’ve seen the campus and the facilities. I wanted to get around the players and coaches again.

“I didn’t really have many questions. I spoke to the support staff at USC on my first visit, and they were all really good guys. The degree is top-notch. I didn’t really need to
see much more from them on that end of things. We don’t even get tutors
in high school, so that difference in and of itself is huge.

“But the one thing about USC is besides the degree you get, there are
some connections you have after you leave. The network and connections
there is a deference maker.”

What ended up being the difference maker for USC was the relentlessness of the Trojans coaching staff in pursuing Petite despite his surprising commitment to Duke.

Having seen Petite play up-close at the Oakland NIKE Camp in May, Biggins has specific reasons to think the 6-foot-5, 220-pound tight end was worth the effort.

“He’s a natural pass-catcher and fits what USC is looking to do,” said Biggins. “Sometimes you see big guys try to run and catch, but they look unorthodox or awkward. Petite has nice size, but he looks real smooth too.

“He goes up for the ball and has a nice catch radius. I really like how he catches the ball. He can do some things down the field, but I also think he can be that 3rd down and 8 receiver. He brings a lot to the table.

Petite caught 31 passes for 11 touchdowns as a junior. As a senior he had 30 receptions for 860-yards and nine touchdowns, so while he has proven to be threat catching the football, he has yet to become the focal point of an offense as a receiver.

But catching the football is not where Biggins sees Petite needing to focus to make an impact in college.

“I think physicality is where he has to develop the most,” said Biggins. “As with any young kid, he just has to get bigger and stronger. Like I said, I like how he catches the football.

“When I saw him up in Oakland for the NIKE Camp, he was all of 6-foot-5, but only around 220-pounds. You want to see him get bigger and stronger. Obviously, you want to see him do a little more in the blocking game. He just needs to fill out more, especially in the upper body.”

Petite takes the Trojans class to 17 total commitments, selecting USC over Duke, Stanford, Northwestern, Miami and Cal among others.

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