Peat chases NFL dreams

Peat chases NFL dreams

Maddie Murphy

[dropcap style=”light” size=”4″]I[/dropcap]t was the summer between freshman and sophomore year when junior standout student-athlete Nate Peat received his first Division 1, football scholarship offer from the University of Missouri. Since then, he has been offered seven more times from Missouri State, Kansas, Northwestern, South Dakota State, Iowa State, Iowa and Minnesota.
“When I got my first offer, I was at a loss for words,” Peat said. “I got it from my old high school coach, Coach [A.J.] Ofodile, and so that made it so much more special. After gaining an offer, it reminds me how truly blessed I am and how I have to keep working harder.”
With an accumulation of offers, Peat is given the ability to choose what he prefers in a school. While he isn’t too picky, he feels a family environment suits him best.
“I want to choose the best school that can set me up for the future,” Peat said. “Football isn’t forever so I shouldn’t choose my school primarily on football alone. I have no preferred community but I do want the program to be a family type team that I can mesh with. I don’t want to spend 4-5 years with a team that I don’t really like.”
Thanks to the work of his parents raising him to be courteous, Peat continues to be one of the most modest, well respected athletes in Columbia.
“I was raised to be humble as a child, and it kind of just stuck with me,” Peat said. “I’ve been blessed with talent, and with talent comes the spotlight, so I’ve grown to be more comfortable with attention, but I’m still the same me.”
Varsity football coach Van Vanatta thinks the way Peat carries himself and the respect he shows his community are some of the main reasons he is being recruited so highly. His grit and strong backbone are also helping his case.
“Of course, he is naturally talented, but he continues to get better because of his determination and work ethic,” Vanatta said. “He stands out because of how he handles himself on and off the field. He has great grades and represents himself, his team and the Rock Bridge community with high standards.”
Even with the tremendous athletic success, Peat takes full advantage of his education. To his friends, such as track teammate junior Mojuba Shonekan, his competitive nature doesn’t stop on the field.
“I would describe Nate as [an] intellectual and smart young man,” Shonekan said. “He takes school very seriously, and he doesn’t like getting outworked in the classroom.”
Peat tries to see himself as a student-athlete with big goals. While only about nine in 10,000, or 0.09 percent, of high school athletes end up in the NFL, according to the NCAA, Peat works hard to give himself the best possible chance.
“I guess what makes me stand out is that I take pride in my education as well as in athletics,” Peat said. “The NFL is a big dream of mine, and I will work my hardest to achieve that dream, but the NFL is not guaranteed, so education is key. I plan on taking full advantage of college and being the best student I can be.”
Throughout high school, Peat has been involved in Cor, a program that empowers male student-athletes in Columbia to transform their lives through educational and athletic opportunities. Between Cor and his family, Peat was given an opportunity to excel and become a better man.
“I honestly believe it’s the people around that makes who I am today. I’m truly grateful for the family and friends I have. My parents have sacrificed so much for me and have supported me through everything,” Peat said. “My brother looks out for me and is the main one who showed me the ropes for football and guided me to be the player I am today. My Cor family not only encouraged me to be a better student, but [Directors of Cor] Angie [Azzanni] and Travis [Craig] are helping me become a better man. The sacrifices that they make daily often get overlooked, but I’m truly grateful for them and thankful to be apart of Cor.”
Though Peat may live a different life than some of his peers, Shonekan wants everyone to know that his friendships are still a priority.
“Nate works out a lot even outside of organized practices,” Shonekan said. “He takes working out seriously and wouldn’t let anything get in the way of it. But after he completes his practices, he’s free and will go hang out with his friends. He knows how to be a great athlete, but at the same time, he knows how to have fun.”
Peat values the friends that he has and appreciates what they have in common. He recognizes that without his closest friends, he wouldn’t be near the athlete he is today.
“The friends I’ve made over the years have really changed me. They’re honestly more like my brothers. We’ve laughed, cried, fought and worked together. They constantly compete with each other to push ourselves to new levels,” Peat said. “They keep me humble, and together we all strive to be the best athletes and men that we can be. All in all, without these people in my life, this article wouldn’t be written; I probably wouldn’t have any of these offers; I honestly don’t know where I would be. God blessed me with great people and talent, and these are the people that drive me to be the best I can be.”