Brandon Peters' Father: 'If they have football in the spring or following fall, he will play"

Matthew Stevens

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Brandon Peters still plans to play more football games at the University of Illinois.

When contacted by Illini Now/Sports Illustrated Tuesday afternoon, Peters’ father David confirmed his son’s intention is to play one more season whenever that may be. Despite the Big Ten Conference's announcement to postpone fall sports including football, Brandon Peters would prefer to be under center at Illinois in one more season whether that be during a spring 2021 season or a fall 2021 season, according to his father.

“If they have football in the spring, he will play,” Dave Peters said about his son in a text to Illini Now/Sports Illustrated. “If they move it to the following fall, he will play.”

Brandon Peters, who will turn 23 years old on Oct. 15, still has one year of eligibility left at Illinois as a graduate transfer from Michigan. It is unknown whether seniors would still have a year of eligibility remaining whenever college football returns, similarly to the eligibility and roster rules put in place by the NCAA allowing for the seniors in spring sports to get their final year back lost a few months ago when the coronavirus canceled spring sports.

With Peters potentially earning a master’s degree to go along with his undergraduate degree at Michigan, it might be assumed the 6-foot-5 quarterback’s next destination would be the National Football League. It is unknown if the NFL will play its 2020 season during the COVID-19 pandemic and even if so, whether they would move back its draft to accommodate a possible upcoming spring college football season. Rob Rang, a talent evaluator for NFLDraftScout.com, had Peters rated as the highest ranked draft-eligible prospect on the Illini’s 2020 roster.

“(Brandon) wants to play with this team if he can and it’s safe to do so,” Dave Peters said. “He and everybody in that group feel like they have something special in this group. Who wouldn’t want to stay a college student athlete a little longer? It’s a great experience and we feel like Illinois and Lovie Smith and his staff have put together a very good environment and organization for their players.”

Peters, an area manager at American Mortgage Service Company in Avon, Ind., watched his son be a highly recruited quarterback at Avon (Ind.) High School who was named Indiana’s Mr. Football selection in 2015 and being selected to the U.S. Army All-America game before signing with Michigan.

Illinois quarterback Brandon Peters (18) passes the ball against Eastern Michigan during the second half of the Illini's 34-31 loss at Memorial Stadium.
Illinois quarterback Brandon Peters finished the 2019 season completing 152 of 275 passes (55.2 percent) for 1,884 yards, 18 touchdowns and just eight interceptions.Patrick Gorski/USA TODAY Sports

Despite missing two regular season games last year due to concussion symptoms, Brandon Peters finished the 2019 season completing 152 of 275 passes (55.2 percent) for 1,884 yards, 18 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. All signs from Illinois strength and conditioning staff along with early signs in preseason practice was Peters was ready to lead the Illini offense to a program-changing type of season.

“(Brandon Peters) has been sharp. He has been on point with his throws. He is on a different level than he ever was last season,” Illinois offensive coordinator Rod Smith said Saturday during a Zoom media conference. “When Brandon speaks, everyone listens.”

Peters was one of the first players to arrive back on campus for voluntary summer workouts when a more physical upper body frame and the mission to prove he can make some noise with his legs and his physicality just as much as with his arm in the Illini pass game. Dave Peters confirmed to Illini Now/SI that Brandon Peters worked with a personal trainer in Indiana during the offseason spring and summer months.

“Whatever it was that motivated him to continue to do some work (during the spring stay-at-home orders via the coronavirus pandemic), I couldn’t be happier with that,” Hernandez said. “Looking at him right now, his body looks incredible. He’s definitely maintained and definitely put on some lean muscle mass. He’s got some more definition on him. He definitely looks like he’s been in the weight room.”

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