Tom Brady. Russell Wilson. Eli Manning. Ben Roethlisberger.
Those quarterbacks, who’ve won five of the last eight Super Bowls, have something else in common – they all redshirted in college.
For an athlete who’s never watched from the sideline, except during blowout victories, redshirting isn’t easy. That’s the case for Michigan freshman Brandon Peters, the 2015 IndyStar Mr. Football presented by Marian University.
Game days are the toughest.
“I’m rooting for us to win, and whoever’s the quarterback, I’m wishing them the best,” Peters said, “but it’s also very hard to sit there and watch when you’re used to being the guy out there making the plays.”
Peters, who led Avon to a regional championship last fall, knew the scenario when he committed to the Wolverines. Coach Jim Harbaugh, who redshirted Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck at Stanford, told him that was the plan.
When he arrived on campus as an early enrollee last January, Peters took one class and immersed himself in the U-M playbook.
“It was like a different language, but it really helped being there all through spring ball and 7-on-7 over the summer, so when I got to camp, it made more sense and I was more fluid,” Peters said. “There’s still a lot to go. It’s definitely complicated.”
Strength training was a big part of Peters’ head start last semester.
“I think I put on at least 10 pounds in the spring alone,” said the 6-5 Peters, who started at 209 pounds and now weighs 229. “The conditioning wasn’t easy, especially running all the stadium steps.”
On scout team during practice, Peters shows the defense what it’ll see each Saturday. He also gets regular game-plan reps to build comfort and confidence for the future.
Michigan has seven quarterbacks on the roster, yet despite everyone being out for one coveted job, the group gets along well.
“We’re a tight group of guys,” Peters said. “We spend a lot of time together, and even though we compete pretty hard with each other, we’re always joking and having fun.”
Peters’ training isn’t limited to the gridiron. To aid his actual signal calling, at the recommendation of position coach Jedd Fisch, Peters worked with a voice inflection instructor on campus.
“I was having trouble with that in the spring, because you have to be pretty loud to be heard in the Big House,” the naturally soft-spoken Peters said. “I met with a teacher who taught me mechanics to project better, and it really helped.”
That teacher came from U-M’s theater program, not exactly a haven for football players. The experience opened Peters’ eyes to the unfamiliar scene.
“I talked to a lot of people there, and they all want me to come take their classes and try it out,” Peters said. “I don’t know, I might.”