July 12, 2011

Peterson looking to pick-up where brother left off

Jake Peterson figures his attraction to West Point started in the fifth grade. His mother and father and paternal grandfather had served in the military. Not long after, that feeling was strengthened when older brother Zach was accepted at the U.S. Military Prep School.

Zach Peterson became an outstanding two-year starter at center for Army and is now an assistant coach for UMAPS.

It turns out Jake Peterson will be coached by his brother.

Jake Peterson arrives later this week to begin his own Army career. The former Northgate High School (Ga.) standout linebacker-defensive end has been working very hard, separating his workouts in three categories - military, speed and lifts.

"I've really tried to push myself this summer, I'm working out two or three times per day, knowing what's in store,'' said the 6-foot-2, 225-pounder.

"I've tried to put pressure on myself.''

Peterson made it official that he would follow his brother to West Point when he signed Army's version of the National Letter-of-Intent Feb. 2. Peterson said he had other interested schools, including Navy, but always had a special place for the Black Knights.

He saw his brother play last fall against Duke and Temple and then the Navy game.

"The first time I saw the Army-Navy game I was a sophomore in high school and I left thinking "I have to play in that one,'' that's one of the coolest games there is,'' he said.
"Just being able to see the Army-Navy game sold it for me," he added.

His visit to West Point just stamped his feelings.

"The history of it, all the people who went there, and the prestige of the school itself is just incredible,'' he said.
Peterson led Northgate with 72 tackles last fall after making the adjustment from being an offensive lineman.

"I played offensive tackle and defensive end for three years, and as a senior I just played linebacker,'' he said. ""We had a new coaching staff come in and they thought I could fit that position. I loved linebacker.''

The Vikings finished the season at 5-5. In the meantime, Zach was contributing to Army's first winning season (7-6) since 1996. The season was capped by its first bowl victory since 1985. Army beat Southern Methodist 16-14 in the Armed Forces Bowl in Dallas. Jake Peterson is hoping to keep building on what his brother and teammates left behind.

"I like to think I hit hard, play at 100 percent on every play,'' said Jake Peterson. ""I have a motor. I just like to finish off plays; I play fast and hard.''

He will come to West Point with reminders from his brother.

"I'm definitely happy about it,'' said Jake Peterson about attending MAPS. "It'll give me another year to get bigger and stronger and to adjust to military life. It'll be beneficial.

"My brother told me to keep an open mind; there will be tough times and good times and to enjoy it and work hard.''

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