Growing up is hard to do

CLEMSON - Garry Peters had some serious growing up to do when he arrived to Clemson as a three-star cornerback in 2010.

That's what Heritage High School head coach Chad Frazier told CUTigers after Peters inked with Clemson. But the transformation didn't happen overnight.

Peters took a redshirt during his first season on campus. In 2011, he played just 12 snaps on defense.

With a rash of injuries at cornerback before and during last season, Peters emerged as a contributor in 2012, recording 20 tackles, one interception and eight pass breakups.

Despite establishing himself as a reliable performer on the field, Peters still had some work to do away from it. Dabo Swinney suspended him for several practices during the spring to drive that home.

Apparently, it worked.

"Back then, I was really immature. I'm not going to lie," Peters said. "A lot of off the field issues had me messed up on the field. So, this year, I'm honed in on what I need to do to get better, not only for myself, but for the team, as a whole."

Brent Venables concurred with Peters' claims.

"He's matured. I think, as he's gotten older, he's taken the choice to become wiser in his decision making, listen sometimes, instead of speak," Venables said. "I think he's had a dose of humility, all things that help guys grow up.

"Garry is a good kid. He's definitely a fierce competitor, but he's a fighter. That's what I love about him."

A five-game starter in 2012, Peters is back in the mix for a starting job when Clemson opens with Georgia in just over a week. The 522 snaps he played last season have played a big part in helping his confidence.

"That was big for me, too. Coming into last season, I didn't know what to expect, because I didn't really play much," Peters said. "Now that I'm a vet, I've played so many snaps, I feel like I know what to expect coming into the season. I'm more prepared for it than I [ever] was prepared for it."

It allows him to take a more cerebral approach on the field.

"Learning the game, all of the athleticism, everybody's athletic. Really learning the game, for me, it's much different," Peters said. "I know where my help is on the field. I know where my safeties should be. I know where the linebackers should be. So, really, learning the game for me is what made me a better player this year."

That dose of humility probably had a little something to do with it, too.

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