LSU's Peterson begins awards tour in Charlotte
BATON ROUGE – LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson begins a busy week of travel across America as the junior will attend several national college football award banquets starting with the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet in Charlotte, N.C., on Monday night at the Westin Charlotte Hotel.
Peterson is one of five finalists for the award that is presented annually by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club. The honor goes to the best defensive player in college football. The other finalists include Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers, Auburn's Nick Fairley, Georgia's Justin Houston and Boston College's Luke Kuechly.
"It's an honor to be a finalist with all of these great players," said Peterson. "I credit my teammates and coaches for putting me in this position. Having my family with me during this week is going to be special for me. I also can't wait to get back on the field and get ready for a bowl game with my teammates."
Peterson is seeking to become the second winner of the award in school history and the first since Glenn Dorsey claimed the honor during the Tigers' 2007 national championship season.
Peterson, a native of Pompano Beach, Fla., was one of the most exciting players in college football in 2010 excelling at cornerback and return specialist. He finished the regular season with 36 tackles while ranking fifth in the Southeastern Conference in interceptions with four. He added 1.5 tackles for loss, six pass breakups and a blocked field goal.
Peterson ranked second in the SEC and sixth in the nation in punt returns with a 16.1 average and he was second in the league and 10th in the country in kickoff returns with a 29.3 average. Peterson returned 26 punts for 418 yards and a pair of scores and he added 851 yards in kickoff returns. The 851 yards is the school record, while the 418 yards in punt returns ranks No. 6 in school history.
Following Monday night's banquet, Peterson will return to Baton Rouge on Tuesday and then depart for Orlando, Fla., on Wednesday morning for the ESPN College Football Awards. He will attend a dinner with all award finalists on Wednesday night.
On Thursday, the ESPN College Football Awards airs live on the network at 6 p.m. CT from Walt Disney World. A special red carpet show from the Atlantic City Dance Hall at Disney's Boardwalk airs at 5 p.m. CT on ESPNU.
Peterson is a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award and Chuck Bednarik Award on Thursday night. The Walter Camp All-America Team will also be announced. Dorsey won the Bednarik in 2007 but the Tigers have never produced a Thorpe Award winner since the trophy's creation in 1986.
The special week concludes on Sunday, Dec. 12 with the Lott IMPACT Trophy presentation in Newport Beach, Calif. Peterson is one of four finalists for the Lott Trophy.