In the end, when it came down to the time to make his decision, Tyler Petite found in Duke what he found in his high school - a team, a tight-knit group and a program that is on the rise.
That's what pushed the Blue Devils in front of USC and many others as the four-star tight end from Moraga (Calif.) Campolindo committed to Duke on Wednesday morning.
"If people knew my high school better and then they looked at Duke and saw the program they have they would realize they're basically the same thing," Petite said.
"My high school isn't a powerhouse high school but there are a lot of great guys and it's a really tight group. People always wonder why we always win games and it's because we're so close. We're not the biggest or the strongest but we have such a tight bond that we always end up winning games.
"That's what represents Duke perfectly. I went out with the guys and that's the vibe I got from them. Everything is about family and they're all tight with each other."
There were certainly other factors that played perfectly for Petite, a 6-foot-4, 217-pound prospect who shined at the Rivals Camp Series in Northern California this spring. Rivals.com rates him as the No. 13 tight end in the 2015 class.
Playing in the ACC was definitely a big deal for Petite as was the Duke coaching staff. The four-star has raved about coach David Cutcliffe in the past and that played a big role in his consideration to pick the Blue Devils over Pac-12 power USC. Stanford and many others were also involved in Petite's recruitment.
"They're in the ACC, that's a big-time conference and that's no joke," Petite said. "They're not a team you would expect to go to the ACC championship to play against Florida State. Them doing that and the type of bond they have and the coaches, too.
"You talk about coach Cutcliffe and what he's doing. Everything he's done not just at Duke but as a coach with Peyton (Manning) and everything before that just speaks for itself as to what type of person he is and what kind of coach he is.
"I loved everything about Duke. I was going through my pros and cons and I really couldn't find anything frankly for both schools and that's why my decision was so tough. In the end, my dad and my family, they said either place you go we think you'll succeed and you'll have a good time. In the end, it comes down to your gut feeling and my gut was saying Duke was the perfect fit for me."
Adam Gorney is a West Region football recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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