Thomas Duarte can play at either the wide receiver or tight end position at the collegiate level and is listed as an athlete by some recruiting services. However, his best fit is at tight end with his size and strength, and Duarte is certainly a solid tight end at that. He told 247Sports that the Oregon Ducks, Washington Huskies, and UCLA Bruins are the three schools recruiting him the hardest. He also talked about the USC Trojans in the piece, and I would recommend checking it out.
An excellent route-runner with sure hands, one of the reasons why Duarte is viewed as a better WR than TE prospect by some is the fact that he is so much better at receiving than blocking. But at 6’4″, 225 pounds it seems difficult to envision him as a wide receiver- especially in the traditional sense.
As far as how he could potentially fit in with Oregon, I couldn’t see Duarte playing any other position with the Ducks other than TE, so that’s likely where Chip Kelly will recruit him. Not only is he a better prospect at TE, but the Ducks have also nabbed commits from more ATH/WR (Darren Carrington and Tyree Robinson) types than ATH/TE types (Johnny Mundt).
The UCLA Bruins and Oregon Ducks are both schools of interest for the top 15 TE, and USC also figures to be involved in his recruitment- especially if they offer and show interest. With the scholarship restrictions, it is going to be difficult for that to happen.
Colorado, Oregon State, UCLA, Oregon, California, Washington, and Notre Dame have all offered Thomas Duarte, so he certainly has a nice list of schools with interest. Last season, the Mater Dei standout caught over 50 passes for 819 yards for seven touchdown passes, and he is one of the elite pass-catchers in the state of California. In fact, the top 400 prospect is one of the top 40 recruits in the state of California and high-end three-star prospect overall.
Duarte has taken an unofficial visit to UCLA in September and also attended junior days at both major L.A. schools. The Santa Ana prospect will be in Los Angeles this weekend to take in the big rivalry game between USC and UCLA as a visitor for the Bruins, and an upset victory for UCLA could be huge for the Bruins in landing the rising three-star WR/TE prospect.
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