STARKVILLE • There are no shortage of role models for Fred Peters to look up to at Mississippi State.
His cousin, Jamal Peters, starred in the Bulldogs’ secondary for four seasons before graduating last year. Johnathan Abram blazed a path from the same junior college as Fred Peters – Jones County – to MSU and ended up being a first round draft pick of the Oakland Raiders.
But the person that Fred Peters is currently being influenced by the most is the man currently above him on the depth chart at star safety, senior Brian Cole.
“B-Cole is in front of me right now so I’m just looking up to him,” Fred Peters said. “We both teach each other a lot. If he messes up on something on the field, I’ll let him know what’s going on.”
Fred Peters enrolled at MSU in January and although the 5-foot-10, 200-pounder was rated as the No. 3 juco safety in the country, he admits it took a while to get acclimated to the speed of the Southeastern Conference.
“When I first came in, I was kind of iffy because the speed is much faster than juco,” Peters said. “But by the time fall camp came, I had adjusted to it a little bit. I was excited that I got to come in January because I wanted a head start. I didn’t want to be behind because I came in late so I made sure I was on top of my grades.”
Reps were limited for Fred Peters on defense during the regular season. So the Columbia native found other ways to contribute, starting on the kickoff, kickoff return, punt and punt return teams.
When Fred Peters was finally given the chance to showcase his abilities on defense during the Abilene Christian game, he took full advantage of it. He finished that contest with four tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, one forced fumble and an interception.
“I was just waiting on my opportunity,” Fred Peters said. “I went in there and executed every play that I got in there. I was just praying that I could make a play. That really boosted my confidence up because I really haven’t played much this season.”
That performance certainly bodes well for Fred Peters’ future with Cole leaving this year. And although the rising senior likely slides into the starting role at star safety, defensive coordinator Bob Shoop feels comfortable playing him anywhere in the secondary.
“Using a baseball analogy, he’s a utility guy,” Shoop said. “He can play second, third or short and you can put him out in left field if you had to. He can do it all and I really like his game. He takes hard coaching and loves football. He’s an almost 4.0 student and embodies everything coach (Joe) Moorhead and I want in our culture here.”