Just when Jake Peters was starting to catch the attention of college recruiters last summer, the versatile tight end suffered a ruptured Achilles. He suffered the injury, in fact, at Colorado's satellite camp at the University of Redlands.
After missing his entire junior season in football, Peters began to show he was making a full recovery when he played basketball for Santa Margarita Catholic this winter. He performed well at the Under Armour All-American regional camp in early March and is now set to begin spring football practices with his high school teammates.
"We started spring install on Monday so it is nice to get back in the swing of things," said Peters, who currently stands 6-foot-4, 240-pounds. "I am feeling really good."
The spring evaluation period, which begins on April 15 and extends through May, will be big for Peters. He had a hard time remembering all the schools that are set to stop by to watch him move around on the practice fields.
"I have been talking to Colorado a lot, Utah, UCLA," he said. "Washington offered me and they said they are going to honor it, contingent on my recovery. So they are going to come back down this spring to make sure I am okay. Then schools like Arkansas, Oregon and Cal have all told me they are coming down for sure. And our high school is one of the better in Southern California so we get random coaches coming through all the time."
Peters stopped by Oregon State, Oregon and Cal earlier this year. He is now set to take a trip to Boulder next weekend, and he will be stopping by UCLA on April 17.
"UCLA is about a 20 minute drive from my house so I have been to a couple of UCLA's game and I took an unofficial visit there last spring," he said. "I am just going through to meet the new offensive coordinator and kind of re-establish my standing there. They were getting really close to giving me an offer when I got hurt."
Peters said Buffaloes tight ends coach Gary Bernardi has kept in "constant" contact with him since he suffered the injury.
"Coach Bernardi is a really good guy," he said. "He actually recruited my dad to the University of Arizona back in the '80s so he knows my dad pretty well. We have built up a really good relationship. And my head coach, Rich Fisher, played at Colorado and he is really good friends with one of their offensive coordinators.
"I am just really excited to get on campus at Colorado to see it. I have a really good friend's sister who goes there and she absolutely loves it. I have heard the football facilities there are insane so I am really excited."
A summer decision is a possibility, Peters reports, but right now he is leaning toward going a "couple games" into the football season before making the call.
"There are a lot of schools I really want to go see still. And with the spring evaluation period coming in, I figured there are a lot of schools that were recruiting me heavy last year that will pull the trigger after they see me running and moving," he said. "I do want to be able to get recruiting done with early during my senior season, though, so I can focus on winning a state championship with my team."
Peters played as an offensive lineman during his Pop Warner playing days before being converted to tight end when he got to high school.
"I do like to catch touchdowns obviously, and I can run and catch well, but I also like to block," he explained. "So I think my blocking separates me from the average high school tight end. Nowadays, you have all the H tight ends that are just big wide receivers. I really find myself to be a true Y (in-line) tight end."