November 19, 2009

Commit Tries to Silence Critics

With offers from places like Oklahoma, Texas, USC, and any other number of elite programs it would have been easy for Torrea Peterson to coast through the summer and the season of his senior year. However there would be no lazing the days away for the 6-foot-4, 300-pound prospect found motivation in his perceived lack of respect for his abilities not only from afar but even in his own hallways.

He says with so many of his offers coming in over the summer when he returned to school many questioned if the San Antonio East Central star was worthy of such praise.

"I work best when I'm doubted. And aside from my parents and loved ones I felt like I need to prove a lot of people wrong," Peterson said. "A lot of people doubted I was worthy of the scholarship offers and going to Oklahoma. Not my teammates but even around school with my peers.

"Before the season started people were asking if I was that type of player and I came in to prove that me I'm the No. 1 defensive tackle in Texas and a mindset to solidify to myself.

"I feel like I'm there, but of course there are always other points of view. I think I had a good season, a very above average season but the best I can do is play my best and wherever that got me is where I am."

Though Peterson hasn't been announced for any all-region or all-state teams he said his numbers were solid for the year and included nearly 20-tackles for loss.

That said his team suffered through a year of peaks and valleys before winning the final game of the season that earned a berth in the playoffs. And though they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs it wasn't until very late in the game that Peterson admitted he came to grips with his final moments as an East Central football player.

"It's pretty much an expectation, we've gone to the playoffs three of the last four years. Since our freshman year it's been an expectation because we went 10-0 our freshman year. Last year we missed out on the playoffs so that made it an even bigger deal this year," he said.

"Knowing it was my last game, it was crazy, it was real crazy. I tried everything I could. In my mind it wasn't over until the zeroes were on the clock and already by the third quarter and we were down by a lot. I kept saying 'come on we can do this we just have to do this and just do that'," he said.

"I got banged up a little bit at the end of the game, I wasn't really hurt but I was laying on the ground and I went to the sideline, When I came out I look at the scoreboard and I kind of lost it then.

"It was just weird to me, some guys on the team were telling me 'you shouldn't worry about it because you are going (to Oklahoma). It still feels like the last time I'll ever play, it was just weird."

Now that their season is over Peterson can focus on the same things as most high school seniors, his future and his grades. In that vein he speaks to Sooner defensive tackles coach Jackie Shipp each week to find out just what is going on in Norman.

Although it seems Shipp is more interested in what is going on in Peterson's East Central classroom.

"I talk to coach Shipp every week after their game on Sundays and I talk to him for about an hour and right now after the season he is talking about grades, grades, grades," he said. "During football it was just football and grades.

"Now it's be sure and get your transcript sent in and everything like that."

Next weekend Peterson will see his future home for the first time as he and his mother will venture up to Norman for his official visiting during the Oklahoma State game.

With so much to fit into the first weekend he admits to having some nerves about the reality that he is going to see his college home for the first time ever.

"The people really make the campus. I think the overall vibe I get from the coaches is how they are in person and how the campus is like and how the community is I'm excited to see what the feeling is like and I don't know just being there," he said. "I've got some butterflies going on, I'm sure in no time I'll be thinking 'I can see myself here'.

"I'd like to see the freshman dorms, where the freshman classes are going to be at, and just how things will be once I settle in. I'm not the best at time management (laughing) so I want to make sure I know where everything is."

With a lot of visitors expected there was one name that Peterson is looking forward to catching up with, future defensive line teammate Chuka Ndulue.

"I've kept up with Chuka on the internet, I've chatted with him and it will be cool to spend a little time around him."

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