There’s being a college quarterback, and then there’s being a college quarterback for Jim Harbaugh … at his alma mater. The second seems a much more daunting prospect than the first.
Yet that isn’t deterring Brandon Peters, one of the nation’s top pro-style quarterback recruits who is also among the five finalists for the U.S. Army Player of the Year Award. Peters was in New York along with his fellow finalists on Monday and Tuesday and was quick to insist that he’s ready for his future in Ann Arbor, with no reservations.
“I really like Michigan a lot, not just because of Coach Harbaugh but also because of the education,” Peters told USA TODAY. “We bonded really good together and we have a good relationship and it gets better every day. The coaching staff he has there now is a really big part of why they rose to the top for me.
“Anywhere you go there’s going to be competition. If there isn’t competition it’s probably not a good enough place for you to be. You just have to work hard, put in the work, study, do all the things the coaches ask you to do and that’s the best thing you can do. I’m going to try my hardest to do the work. I’m really a big competitor. I have a lot of motivation inside of me that I don’t share with a lot of people. I’m motivated by what other people think, not necessarily what they say. I’m just a different kind of guy, laid back but driven at the end.”
That personality may prove essential for Peters’ survival and ability to thrive in Ann Arbor. At Michigan, he’ll find himself in a crowded group of passers that also includes (all years relative to the 2016 season) junior John O’Korn (the presumptive front-runner for the starter’s job), redshirt freshman Zach Gentry, sophomore Alex Malzone, junior Wilton Speight, senior Shane Morris and Peters. That’s a total of six players for one slot, a reality that makes it likely Peters will spend his freshman season as a designated redshirt or simply wiling his time on the bench.
Not that such a possibility intimidates Peters. The Indiana native is confident in his own abilities thanks to what he perceives is far deeper football talent in the Hoosier State than most recognize.
“Indiana has really good talent. Most people don’t realize that it’s more than just a basketball state,” he said. “We have some really good teams and players there. There were three teams that are in the top-100 this year, and we played both of the other two. The competition is great. But I know anywhere at the college level you will see some really good players and I’m going to have to do some catching up.
“The biggest adjustment for me is going to be the playbook. There’s a big variety of plays that I have to learn, so spring ball should be huge for that. Also the speed of the game is going to take a lot of adjusting, too. It’s just so much faster in college.”
Peters will get started on both of those adjustments in January, when he enrolls in Ann Arbor for the Spring semester. Until then, he’s going to keep plugging away, all while enjoying and appreciating every minute of the coda to an impressive high school career.
“It’s been a cool experience here to see the city,” Peters said. “I’ve never been here before and it’s eye opening to see how big it is. It’s awesome to meet the other finalists.
“I work hard, I put in the effort every day during practice and in the offseason. I try to improve every little detail in my game, and I’m going to keep doing that.”