Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) offensive lineman Richie Petitbon plays in one of the top high school leagues in the country.
Although the competition at the Under Armour All-America High School Football Game has been a step up from the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, it’s not a complete shock.
On Tuesday, the 6-4, 313-pound senior got his chance to butt heads with American Family Insurance ALL-USA defensive tackle Terry Beckner Jr., of East St. Louis, Ill., and Suffield (Conn.) Academy defensive tackle Christian Wilkins.
“Some of the fastest and strongest athletes are here,” said Petitbon, whose father Richie played for Maryland and whose grandfather, also Richie, was a longtime NFL safety, assistant coach, and for one year, head coach of the Washington Redskins. “Getting my opportunity to compete and impose my will against these guys has been unbelievable.”
Petitbon committed to Alabama in April, but his connection to the Crimson Tide goes back to his sophomore year, when Alabama assistant coach Lance Thompson videotaped him in practice, then invited him to Alabama’s camp.
“So many guys from the D.C. area have gone on to play for Alabama because Coach Thompson has landed a lot of guys there,” he said.
While here, Petitbon also plans to do a little recruiting of his own for the Crimson Tide, with several elite players undecided, including massive defensive tackle Daron Payne of Shades Valley (Birmingham, Ala.), who is looking at Alabama and Auburn.
Payne is considered the sixth-best defensive tackle in the nation by the 247Sports Composite and plans to announce his decision Friday during the Under Armour game broadcast
Payne told Gannett partner The Montgomery Advertiser after the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game that he was impressed with the Tigers’ decision to hire former Florida coach Will Muschamp as defensive coordinator.
“It sort of makes me think harder about my decision,” the 6-foot, 3-inch, 335-pound Payne said. “It’s a great hire. We’ll just wait it out. I don’t know much about him. I just know he’s a great coach.”