MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. — Jordyn Peters is an absolute delight to talk to.
This recruiting rewind series can sometimes lead to canned responses. That wasn’t the case with the Auburn safety signee.
Since the day he committed to Auburn in August, Peters has been an open book about all things recruiting. As Auburn went through secondary coach changes, he remained honest with how it might affect the way he dealt with the process. Peters shoots it straight.
The Tigers are getting a heck of a young man.
Take a look at one of the most insightful recruiting rewind Q&As you’ll read.
Q&A with Jordyn Peters
Q: If you could give a junior one piece of advice about the recruiting process, what would it be?
A: “Talk to the players. As far as coaching-wise, they’re going to get you where you need to be. Coaches, they can tell you whatever, recruiting-wise. They’re not bad guys, they’re just trying to recruit you. That’s their job. They want to get you in there and tell you what you want to hear. But you need to talk to the players. The players are going to tell you how it is and how a coach is going to coach and what your chances are. You need to look at how many seniors or juniors they have for your playing time and all that. When you go on a visit, go talk to the players and ask them, ‘How is Coach? How do y’all do this in practice? Do you like it here?’ Things like that. And see if you like those guys. Because you don’t want to come into a team where you don’t feel comfortable with a team.”
Q: What school came in second? What could they have done better?
A: “I think it would’ve been between Ole Miss and Virginia Tech. Knowing how Ole Miss got that (bowl) sanction, I probably would’ve picked Virginia Tech, even though it was only a year. I still probably would’ve picked Virginia Tech second and Ole Miss third. …I went up to Tech, and it felt like an SEC school. Because I went up and visited Duke and Georgia Tech before I went up to Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech compared to those other schools. It was just a whole different feeling. It was like the SEC. They just have a beautiful campus up there. I bonded with those coaches, too — Coach Wiggins and Coach Scott and Coach Bud. I bonded with those guys that day I visited them. I had a really good feeling. … They were graduating their seniors, too, so I had a good feeling. Virginia Tech defense, they’ve got that reputation.”
Q: Anything they could’ve done better to get you?
A: “Not really. It wasn’t anybody’s fault. I probably would’ve picked Auburn anyway. But communication toward the end, it was a little flared up with them. I didn’t talk to them as much as I talked to Auburn. But I knew they were recruiting other people. It wasn’t a big deal. It wasn’t like I didn’t talk to them. It just wasn’t as much as coaches from Auburn.”
Q: What was the most creative thing a school or coach did to get your attention?
A: “When I got my third or fourth offer from Louisville. I was up there on a junior day visit. Before we got to touring the campus, the coach came up to me and said, ‘I’ve got something for you later. I’ve got something to tell you.’ At that moment, I was like, ‘OK, I’ve probably got an offer.’ He still waited and once we got back, we were going to look at the stadium next. We were in the front and everybody else was behind us, so it was like I was leading the crew. We were walking down from their locker room to the middle of it, and right when we walked out, this music just started playing. It was like, well, not Beethoven, but like…[makes sharp violin noises] Real dramatic music. They started showing this highlight video, and it made me catch chills how it happened. And that’s when he grabbed me and said, ‘We’d like to offer you to come play at the University of Louisville.’ It was like, boom, all of that was for me. All that music, that’s how it felt. I mean, it was for everybody at the junior day, but for me to be out in front like that. It just felt real special.”
Q: What was the biggest rumor about your recruitment that wasn’t true?
A: “No. I can’t think of one. Nah.”
Q: What is the funniest thing any head coach said to you during the entire recruiting process?
A: “Coach Malzahn would say some funny things. He knew my sister and my cousin and my granddad were Alabama fans. So he would joke all the time, like, ‘We’re going to end up flipping them, or they can’t get any tickets.’ That’d be funny. That’s the funniest thing said. …The funniest conversation I had was with Coach Freeze. It wasn’t like a funny conversation. We were talking about other schools I’ve been to and stuff, and he was talking about Ole Miss. But the whole time we were sitting there, he was eating a popsicle. He’s just sitting there the whole time with it. He’d take a lick, then he’d smack his lips and ask a question. I’m just sitting there like trying to answer his questions, but I’m just looking at this popsicle. I was like, that looks good. I want one. But they didn’t get me one.”
Q: What was the biggest secret you kept during the recruiting process?
A: “I told a couple of coaches that I wasn’t going farther than like five hours. That knocked down a lot of schools. The only one I probably would’ve taken the chance on was Virginia Tech. So I told a couple of them, I’m not going farther than five hours. That’s my cap. Close enough to come home on the weekend if I need to, but far away where my mom’s not going to be up there every weekend or something like that.”
Q: What was your biggest regret of the recruiting process?
A: “I probably committed a little too early. I would’ve liked to take a couple more visits and stuff. I feel like after I committed, some of those schools fell back. They felt like I wasn’t going to flip, and I wasn’t. I felt like I could’ve committed too early. I could’ve gotten in a couple more visits. I was just worried, and my mom and my dad and my coach were telling me that I needed to commit. Just for insurance policy, in case I got hurt or something. I understood that. And I took plenty of visits. I would’ve liked to take a couple more visits to a couple more schools, but it was no big deal. I wanted to get up and visit Michigan. I would’ve taken another visit to Virginia Tech. I don’t know why, but I always wanted to visit Missouri, too.”
Q: Was there any funny recruiting story that stands out to you?
A: “It definitely would’ve been with K.J. (Britt) and Malcolm (Askew). So much stuff happened when we went down to Auburn that was so funny. I think it was the Arkansas game, we were walking out of the dorms and walking down the stairs, and K.J. just fell. He slipped down the stairs. And me and Malcolm, we were in front of him, and we didn’t even know he fell. We were still walking, and he was just yelling at us. We turned around, and he was laying there. We started laughing at him. That’s the funniest thing I can think of. He was mad at us, because he thought we knew he fell down and just kept walking.”
Q: Which coach was it the hardest to tell no?
A: “That was probably Coach Barney for Ole Miss. He’s from around this area, and I talked to him. He’s a real funny guy. I’d go up there and mess with him all the time when I visited Ole Miss. He’s a real cool guy, and I wanted to go there and hang around him all the time. He was my friend as a coach. He’s a real cool guy. So when I had to tell him, it was hard for me. I thought he would’ve been mad at me. But, nah, he understood. He told me good luck and things like that. He wished the best for me. He said he would keep watch for me and stuff like that. It was a relief to know that he said that he was still rooting for me.”
Q: What school disappointed you the most during your recruitment?
A: “A couple of schools, they threw an offer out there, and I really didn’t talk to them after that. They’d send me like an edit or something here and there, but I never got to build a relationship with the coaches. Purdue, Tulane, Wake Forest. Minnesota was like that at first, but they started talking more toward the end. Michigan, they were on and off all the time. That was just some of them.”
Q: Which school would you have taken more seriously if they recruited you earlier in the process?
A: “Tennessee. That’s a school that I’ve always liked. If they weren’t playing Auburn, I’d root for them. That’s a team I’ve always liked. Them or Georgia.”
Q: How much negative recruiting was out there?
A: “They really didn’t bash the other schools. But they would sort of sneak diss or something like that. I heard one time, ‘Their coaching staff really isn’t solid. Their coach isn’t guaranteed to be in there much longer.’ But I wasn’t really paying attention to it. Chances were if I was going to that school, I wouldn’t be going for those reasons. I wouldn’t go for the coaching staff. You don’t go to a school for a coaching staff. The coaching staff, they aren’t guaranteed to be there. You go to a school because you feel good being at that school with those players. You have to go with a mentality that if you go down there and you get hurt on your first day and can’t play football anymore, you need to be comfortable at that college.”
Q: Which non-Auburn coach was the nicest to you? Anyone that was a little more hard-edged?
A: “Probably Coach Freeze. I talked to him a couple of times. I talked to him on the phone. He was real nice. He always asked me how I was doing and how my family was doing. He was real nice. We had a good relationship. … The coach from Duke. When I sat in his office, it was just… he was a cool guy, I liked him and everything. There wasn’t anything wrong with him. But he just sat there and carried himself, it was like, ‘Uh, I don’t want to mess with that guy.’ Which, that’s good for a coach, but there was just something about him. I didn’t have a good feeling. But it’s a good thing. I’m not bashing him. It’s just something about him. Not downing him or anything.”
Q: If you were in charge of the NCAA, what’s the one rule you would change with recruiting?
A: “Oh, I know this one. Gameday insinuation or something like that. Like if you go to Auburn, you can’t go through Tiger Walk. I’d change that. You need to give them the feeling of how they feel when they go to that school. Do some of the things that the team does on gameday and things like that. Because I begged to walk through Tiger Walk, and they would not let me. They were like, ‘You’re going to get in trouble with the NCAA.’ So I said, all right, I won’t. But to get the feeling of what it’s like to be on the team through the recruiting process, that’s one thing I would change.”