2021 OLB Darryl Peterson on His Recruiting Process Through the Pandemic and Wisconsin

Jake Kocorowski

The recruiting journeys for many players in the 2021 class have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially with the dead period being extended to June 30 and potential spring and early summer official visits being effectively canceled.

From Darryl Peterson's perspective, however, he feels it has not influenced him as much, though he will not take some trips next month.

"It did however, kind of obviously. I can't take my official visits, so that kind of was a setback because I was looking forward to taking all four of the ones that I had scheduled for June," Peterson told AllBadgers.com on Tuesday. "Other than that, it really didn't make a difference for me because all the places I'm considering right now I've been to before. 

"The official visits for me would have just been like the last look at everything, get to meet some of the guys, more of the guys and stuff like that. I really didn't think I missed a beat as far as recruiting goes."

Those four official visits Peterson previously mentioned in June would have taken him to West Virginia, Wisconsin, Alabama, and Michigan in consecutive weekends.

According to Peterson, he is still keeping in touch with all four programs still. When asked if any of the quartet of schools have emerged more than the others, the Akron (OH) Archbishop Hoban said no.

"I'm just waiting a little bit longer just to see, but as far as like communication and stuff goes, it's been pretty even all around," Peterson said.

AllBadgers.com asked Peterson, a three-start linebacker according to 247Sports and Rivals, about Wisconsin and who has been keeping in touch with him from the Big Ten West program.

"I've been talking to everybody from Coach (Paul) Chryst to Coach Rudy (Joe Rudolph)," Peterson said. "I talked to Coach (Mickey) Turner, the tight ends coach a couple of times. I've talked to Coach (Bobby) April every week, supposed to call him in a few hours. 

"I've been talking to everybody, so it's been a lot of love shown from them."

The communication between Peterson and some of the Wisconsin commits have grown as well.

"Even guys who aren't committed who have interest in there I've been talking to some. We've been in a group chat, like the guys who were there March 1 (for Wisconsin's junior day). I think it was (four-star safety) Hunter Wohler, he made a group chat and ever since then we've always been kind of communicating. Him and (Wisconsin quarterback commit) Deacon (Hill) made a group chat. 

"They've been on our necks a lot because other guys have been committing and stuff. They've kind of been pressuring me and T.J. (Bollers). They've been like, 'C'mon, when are you guys going to commit?,' this and that. It's been fun, but especially during this tough time, it's been a lot easier to stay in contact with those guys."

Earlier this week, tight end Jack Pugh became Wisconsin's 11th known commitment for the 2021 class. Besides being prospects in the same recruiting cycle from the Buckeye State, Peterson said they talk a lot after initially coming in contact during a Big 12 program visit late last year.

"We met on the recruiting trail in West Virginia in December and had been in contact ever since," Peterson said. "I knew what he was going to do a little bit before everybody else did so I was very proud of him and excited for him."

For now, Peterson continues to train and has not missed a beat in terms of workouts during the pandemic. He hopes to utilize speed training and more linebacker-type drills -- including dropping back into coverage -- so he can become more comfortable when he plays outside linebacker during his senior season.

Peterson, who according to Rivals holds 13 offers at the moment, also just completed the fourth quarter of his junior year with straight As.

"It feels great, man," Peterson said. "That's always something I've wanted to do, but would always come up short with like one B or two Bs, so it feels great to actually have done it, especially with a ton adversity with me having to do everything at home and stuff like that so I'm feeling good."

When asked if his timeline for a decision has changed, Peterson said it would probably be a little bit earlier but is still unsure of an exact date since he cannot take his official visits. He is still looking to do so before his senior season.

Where does Wisconsin stands currently heading into the summer months?

"They're definitely up there towards the top, but only time will tell, man," Peterson said. "I've got a lot of things to figure out with my parents and my family and stuff, but they're definitely up there."