It’s been a huge couple of weeks for Kentucky football recruiting, and Xavier Peters’ decision to transfer to UK continues the exciting momentum.
For the most part, Kentucky fans are well aware of Peters’ whirlwind of a recruitment, both while he was in high school and again last December. He spent several months during his senior year of high school as a Kentucky commit, before ultimately flipping to Florida State. At the time, he was listed as a four-star recruit, the No. 12 outside linebacker in the nation and the sixth-best player in the state of Ohio.
After a year in Tallahassee, Peters was back in the news. He entered his name into the transfer portal in December, and speculation began to spread he was heading to Lexington. It didn’t take long for Peters to withdraw his name from the portal and decide to stay at Florida State, where he participated in spring football.
But in the end, Peters felt he was meant to be at the University of Kentucky. He cites his proximity to his family, specifically his young son, as the main reason for making the switch back to the Wildcats. However, there’s also a message there that also speaks to the way Mark Stoops, Vince Marrow, and the rest of UK’s staff chooses to recruit players, both while they’re in high school and as transfers.
— ?xavier peters? (@xavierpeters22) May 15, 2019
For Peters to decide to re-commit to Kentucky, he must still have a strong, positive relationship with the coaching staff. Otherwise, there are plenty of schools within a similar radius to his hometown of West Chester, Ohio. Kentucky became his original destination of choice during the summer of 2017, but his decision to re-commit shows no bridges were burned throughout a recruiting process that left some with whiplash and hurt feelings.
Fans may have criticized Peters for “flip flopping” while he was a high schooler, but it’s clear the coaches did not participate. If they were upset about Peters’ decision to de-commit (which, logically, they probably were), they kept it to themselves: no one aired grievances publicly, and it’s likely they were cordial toward Peters, too. Otherwise, why would he come back?
— ?xavier peters? (@xavierpeters22) May 16, 2019
In the end, Xavier Peters is making a responsible decision that’s the best option for himself and his family. But his future also surely played a role, and Kentucky’s upward trajectory certainly didn’t hurt their chances at finally landing the star player. The Cats finished 10-3 last season and 17-9 over the past two seasons; they’ve had more than a hand full of players find homes in the NFL this year, and the culture is changing before our eyes – and his.
Sure, it took Peters a little bit longer than most recruits to wind up in Lexington. But Kentucky’s recruiting pitch worked in the long run, and a beast of a linebacker will be wearing blue and white in the future because of it.