Gonzaga rising junior Richie Petitbon earned a scholarship offer from two-time defending national champion Alabama earlier this week, adding to a growing list of offers that also includes Maryland and Virginia.
The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Petitbon, who came into his own last year as a sophomore left tackle for the Eagles, has bulked up 30 pounds during the offseason and plans to play on both sides of the ball as a junior. Gonzaga finished 8-3 last season and lost to DeMatha in the WCAC semifinals.
“I’m still on cloud nine right now,” Petitbon said of the Alabama offer. “It hasn’t really set in that Alabama offered me.”
Petitbon said he will push to make a visit to Tuscaloosa sometime this fall, and is eyeing a visit to campus the same weekend that the Crimson Tide play Ole Miss September 28. He also holds offers from Penn State, Temple, Old Dominion and Louisiana Lafayette.
“I want to be committed by next summer,” Petitbon said, ” so going into my senior year I can be focused on Gonzaga, my teammates and winning another championship.”
The Alabama offer spawned from a Wednesday workout at Gonzaga earlier this spring, a session that was attended by the Crimson Tide outside linebackers coach Lance Thompson. That earned Petitbon an invitation to Alabama’s prospect camp earlier this month, and ultimately the offer. Thompson is the program’s designated recruiter for the area, and returns to the Alabama sideline this season after three years at Tennessee. He served as Alabama’s defensive line coach from 1999-2000 and outside linebackers coach from 2007-2008.
“To have a coach offer me a scholarship to one of the biggest programs in the country, its a very humbling experience,” said Petitbon, whose grandfather Richie coached the Washington Redskins during the 1993 season. “I’ve gotten a lot better. Our coaches really push me…I pride myself on hard work.”