Patrick PetersonLSU Football - 2010-11 Corbett Award Winner
Recognized as one of the top college football players in the nation for 2010, LSU star defensive back Patrick Peterson's skills have evoked Superman references - leaping tall buildings with a single bound, faster than a speeding bullet, etc. His abilities and accomplishments resulted is his being a unanimous choice for the 2010-11 James J. Corbett Award as the top amateur athlete in the state of Louisiana.
The Corbett is just the latest in a string of honors for the Florida native. A consensus first-team All-American, he also earned two national awards: the Bednarik Trophy as the top defensive player in college football, and the Thorpe Award, as the top defensive back in the game. The junior was also the SEC Defensive Player of the Year and Special Teams Player of the Year. He followed those honors by being selected No. 5 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals.
The accolades showered onto Peterson despite modest statistics of 42 tackles, four interceptions and six pass break-ups. The fact of the matter was, no right-minded quarterback wanted to throw a pass to the ball-hawking Peterson's side of the field.
"Pat has the best ball skills of anyone I've been around," said LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis. "That's something you're not born with, it's something you create. I think at an early age his dad gave him an opportunity to develop those skills over a long period of time. He's truly a special athlete. What makes him special is his work ethic, dedication, desire, love for the game and love of competing."
In addition to establishing himself as the top cornerback in the country, Peterson ranked first in the SEC in both punt-return average (16.1, fourth in the nation) and kick returns (29.1, ninth in the nation). His 1,484 all-purpose yards ranked fourth in the SEC for 2010 and seventh in LSU single-season history, while his 932 kick-return yards are a Tiger season record.
LSU's season-opener against North Carolina gave Peterson the stage to serve notice to the nation about his return skills as he registered 257 return yards (second-best in school history), including an 87-yard punt return for a touchdown. In LSU's in-state showdown with UL-Monroe, the 6-1 defensive back contributed one of the most acrobatic plays of the 2010 college football season when he deflected a pass to himself while in coverage, reached back, snared the ball in mid-air and returned it 85 yards to set up an LSU touchdown.
During his career, Peterson earned a pair of All-SEC honors as well as All-America recognition twice. He finished his career with 135 tackles, 22 pass breakups and seven interceptions and he also scored touchdowns three different ways for the Tigers - via punt return (2), interception and return of a blocked field goal. In Peterson's three years with the Purple and Gold, he easily established himself as one of the greatest athletes in LSU's storied football history.
Story submitted by Rene Nadeau of the Greater New Orleans Sports Selection Committee.