Tifton Gazette

Local Sports

February 5, 2014

Irwin’s Peterson to Georgia Southern

OCILLA — His coach, Jon Lindsey, said Ryan Peterson, “was someone who got the most of his high school experience with his academics and his athletics.”

Before a packed house at the Irwin County High Performing Arts Center Wednesday, Peterson ended that high school experience as  he signed to continue his football career and education with Georgia Southern University.

During his senior high school as an Irwin County Indian was a first-team All-Tiftarea selection and a 3-star rated running back by scout.com. That was even though he missed a good part of the year with injuries.

Presiding over Peterson’s signing was Lindsey’s last official act as Irwin County High head football coach as he will begin his new job as the head coach at Cook High School today.

Lindsey felt like it was a great way to go out.

“I am extremely proud of Ryan. He has a bright future ahead of him at Georgia Southern,” said Lindsey. “He was a great asset to our program, and I am sure he will be the same kind of student-athlete at Southern.

“Ryan was a great example of a young man that took care of his academics and worked hard on the playing field during his time at Irwin County.”

Peterson said his reason for picking Southern over other schools like Furman, Kent State, Wofford and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga was simple,  “I fell in love with the coaching staff.

“I also felt like there was a brotherhood with the team. At some of the schools, the offense and defense stays separate, but at Southern, everyone is always there together. You feel like everyone has each other’s back.”

Georgia Southern assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Chad Lunsford was especially cited by Peterson as the one coach that made an impact with him.

Lunsford remained at the school when Jeff Monken left as Southern’s head coach to take the same job at Army. New Eagle head coach Willie Fritz kept Lunsford on his new staff.

“I was worried with the coaching change, but they stayed after me even after Coach Fritz arrived.”

Others that took part in the ceremony were Peterson’s brother, D.J; his mother, Kim Harris; and family friend, Dene’ Hogan.

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