Notre Dame's Petitjean inks with Arkansas Monticello
CROWLEY – Pete Petitjean’s 2010 prep football season may have concluded one game short of a second state championship back in December, but his career on the gridiron is not over.
Petitjean, a three-year starter on the offensive line at Notre Dame, signed a National Letter of Intent Wednesday to continue his football career at the University of Arkansas Monticello.
“I felt that this was the best decision for me,” said Petitjean, who was also courted by McNeese, Nicholls and Northwestern State. “It’s a small college, Division II, and I just like the feeling of it.
“It is a long way away from home and it will be tough being away from my family, but I’ll be back before you know it.”
Petitjean was recruited by Arkansas Monticello head coach Hud Jackson, who was an assistant baseball coach at Rayne High back in the early 1990’s when the Wolves won the state championship.
“Pete is an exceptional young man who is going to do great things at UAM,” said Jackson. “It is special for me to be able to get one of Louie Cook’s players to come up to Monticello, Arkansas and be a Boll Weevil. We know we have a player with heart and passion and, to top it off, he comes from a great family.”
Petitjean has been a driving force on Notre Dame’s offensive line for three years and has been named to the 5-AAA All-District and All-Acadia Parish teams in both his junior and senior seasons. He was also tabbed to the Class AAA All-State second team this year.
“Ever since Pete was a young kid, all he ever wanted to do was play football at Notre Dame,” said ND offensive line coach Todd Gray. “It was a passion and a love for him.”
That passion earned Petitjean a spot in the starting rotation early on during his prep career, something that is a rarity at Notre Dame.
“In the 14 years that I’ve been here, there’s only been two guys that have ever seen the field as a true sophomore and he was one of them,” said Gray. “He split time as a starter his sophomore year and worked his way into the lineup his junior and senior years and has just been a great player for us.”
Petitjean also gained notoriety following the Pios’ 2009 state championship season when he was named to the All-Nike Camp team at the Baton Rouge Nike Football Training Camp at the LSU practice fields over the summer. Close to 200 prospects from nine states participated in the camp and only 25 were selected to the team.
“Pete is physical, he’s aggressive...he’s any coaches’ dream as an offensive lineman,” said Gray. “He’s a leader and his presence, you can just watch film and he will catch your eye because of the things he does. He’s going to be successful and he’s going to make Arkansas Monticello a good hand.”
Gray said Petitjean’s versatility will also be a plus and could lead to playing time early at UAM.
“Pete played everywhere for us,” said Gray. “He played strong guard, strong tackle and weak tackle. Anybody that went down, we’d move Pete over. We even worked him at center.
“He can play anywhere and that’s the good thing about him. Because of his athletic ability as a big guy, he’ll be able to play center or guard.”
Pete is the son of Jim and Lyn Petitjean of Rayne.