Last weekend Peterson, who led the Bulldogs to the Oklahoma Class 4A State Championship with a win over powerhouse Clinton in Boone Pickens Stadium, was back in Stillwater for an official visit with his childhood favorite school Oklahoma State.
The situation was tense, so last night Kevin and his parents informed Wagoner coach Dale Condict that Kevin was switching his commitment to Oklahoma State. The hope was that the timing would avoid a developing circus.
"I think it definitely played a role because as of last night at 6 p.m. I was still with the information that those coaches were coming to the basketball game on Tuesday," Condict explained today on Triple Play Sports Radio and Sportstalk with Robert Allen and Friends. "Kevin and his family decided that they just didn't want to continue the pressure and really, like you said, it was going to get crazy tonight.
"It was going to be more than just about Kevin. It was becoming more about the rivalry and I had heard that several of our people in the area that are OSU fans were going to wear their orange and then I heard that OU fans were going to wear their colors. I think that was ultimately something that he wanted to avoid."
It was avoided as the OU coaches canceled their visit to Wagoner. Although don't be surprised if they don't call and tug on that switch again before signing day. Condict said he could see the pressure mount with Peterson as a recruiting battle especially involving rival schools involves a lot of people with a lot of curious media.
"It is very hard, very much so, because the information can travel so much faster and there are so many more people out there that want to know with so many websites and 'this .com,'" Condict added. "From 6:30 last night to 9:30 I had either received or made 35 phone calls. Just from that information that got out people were calling me. I might be on the phone and receive three or four calls while I am on the phone. Then I still had a couple people in the media that I know that are kind of irritated that I hadn't called them back.
"It is a lot to balance and to put that on a young man that is 17 or 18 years old it is a lot for them."
The 5-11, 180-pound Peterson was an all purpose player for the Bulldogs as he rushed for 1,621 yards and 25 touchdowns this season. He had three more touchdowns catching the football. He was involved in returning kicks and punts and on defense, where both schools were looking to see him play at cornerback, he had 42 tackles and three interceptions playing some on that side of the ball.
While Peterson was predisposed to go to Oklahoma State as a fan growing up, it was Oklahoma that jumped in and offered him a scholarship first. OSU almost immediately followed.
"Kevin commits to OU and at the time coach Martinez is recruiting him and developed a good relationship with him and then Coach Venables comes in and starts developing a good relationship with him," Condict said, who added that he had a hard time with it being an OU grad and an OU fan, but he tried to stay neutral. "When they first offered, OSU had not offered. Then OSU does make an offer and he decides to go on that visit. OSU did a tremendous job, especially with the official visit.
"The players there made him feel, he said you could really sense a unity in the OSU players that they were all real excited to be there and I think that made a difference to him that they all made him feel welcome in that short a period of time. That made a big impact on him."
Despite the pressure Condict felt Peterson had to be feeling, he said his senior unanimous All-State selection never let his coach see him sweat.
"He is a pretty cool and calm kid and I know it was probably bothering him but he didn't really show it," added Condict.
"He is probably as likeable as kid as you are going to find especially with the adults around here. With a lot of the teachers, he is going to be the teacher's pet. He is just a real good natured kid. He is very confident but he is grounded. He is not going to show off a lot. He has a good heart and I think that is what made him struggle some with this. He shakes Bob Stoops hand and tells him he is coming to OU and then changes to OSU and that part I think made him struggle with that decision. He grew up an OSU fan and that is where he wanted to go, but he had given OU his word and that meant a lot more to Kevin Peterson than a lot of other kids."
Condict said he told Peterson he would root for him in every game except four, the four games against OU. He said he told him he wanted to him to have great stats, but had to cheer for his alma mater and he said Peterson told his coach he understood. Condict did say he understands from one of his dad, Hall-of-Fame coach Tom Condict, that Kevin Peterson will be coached well and taken good care of.
"You know my dad, one of his best players was David Thompson. He was a great kid, real fast, and doing great things now," he said. "Mike Gundy was the one who recruited him so I know Kevin is in good hands."