The Steal of the Class

North Little Rock linebacker Chea Peterman (6-2, 220, 4.6) has an offer to walk on at University of Arkansas and is confident he can play in the SEC, but Tulsa, Rice or Memphis might come through with a late offer to keep that from happening.

They may not have been a better defensive player in the state this season than North Little Rock linebacker Chea Peterman.

After all, Peterman (6-2, 220, 4.6) had a whopping 164 tackles and 18 tackles for lost yards, was named to the All-State, All-Arkansas and All-Southern squads and the Class 7A Defensive Player of the Year by Hooten's Arkansas Football.

He was a finalist for the Landers Award given to the player regarded as the best one in the state and has drawn interest from Arkansas, Tulsa, Kansas, Memphis and Rice.

So it's strange with just a little time left before Wednesday's National Signing Date that Peterman is left at the minute with a major college scholarship offer.

"It's been a little frustrating, but I think everything happens for a reason," Peterman said. "If nothing does happen in these next few days with an offer, than I will walk on at Arkansas. If I do walk on in Fayetteville, I guarantee I will be playing in two years."

That confidence in himself is one of the many reasons that someone is going to get a steal with Peterman, who best opportunity for a scholarship offer at the moment seems at Tulsa.

Former Arkansas and current Tulsa offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn visited Peterman – the son of former Arkansas linebacker Charlie Peterman - on Thursday although Golden Hurricane head Todd Graham was unable to make it in because of the weather.

"The visit went really well and they are looking at me more as a H-back that would come out the backfield and catch passes," Peterman said. "He told me that they were going to have a meeting on Saturday or Sunday and figure out their numbers and let me know if they would have an offer for me or not."

Peterman, who has been to the University of Arkansas for junior days and games, was supposed to be one of several recruited walk-ons to take official visits to Fayetteville this weekend, but the weather nixed that.

"They told me that they aren't able to offer me a scholarship right now, but they would love for me to talk on and play linebacker for them and earn one," Peterman said. "I have no doubt that I could play in the SEC. Memphis and Rice have come back on me again, too, so we'll see how it all works out."

Peterman admits he believes linebacker is his true spot, something he was able to get back to this season after being the quarterback for North Little Rock the last few seasons.

"I really feel like my best spot as a linebacker, but the fact that they needed me at quarterback kept me from getting my name out there as a linebacker – something that really helps if you have done before you start your senior season as I have found out," Peterman said.

"I think the fact that I did play quarterback helps me a lot as a linebacker, however," Peterman added. "It gives me an advantage in that I know what the quarterback is likely to do, have a good idea about the play and am able to go make the hit. The thing I really love about playing linebacker is getting to hit people."

Ironically, Peterman is a linebacker and a soccer player for North Little Rock.

"I really think soccer definitely helps me with my footwork, my agility and my speed as a linebacker," Peterman said. "Soccer has also become a very aggressive and physical sport so being a linebacker fits right in."

North Little Rock finished the 2006 season with an 8-4 mark and Peterman says he has thought many times about a play in what turned into an overtime loss to eventual champion Fort Smith Southside.

"I think about that game, but more about one play in that game," Peterman said. "We had them 4th-and-7 and all we have to do is stop them and we are going to championship game. They throw a pass and our guy goes for an interception that would have ended it and another of our guys runs into him and they end up catching it and scoring."

It brought an end to a year in which he had the 164 tackles, 18 tackles for lost yardage, 2 interceptions, 8 forced fumbles and 2 recovered fumble. He took a fumble and an interception both back for scores and also rushed for seven touchdowns in limited time on offense and threw a couple of scoring tosses as well.

"I have to credit my defensive teammates and my coaches for all my success," Peterman said. "They took care of their jobs and I just made plays. The same thing I am going to do in college for the team that gives me a shot. Playing at Arkansas would be awesome. We'll just see what happens."

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