Jim Thorpe Award: LSU's Patrick Peterson makes the grade

BY JAKE TROTTER, Staff Writer, jtrotter@opubco.com Modified: February 7, 2011 at 10:27 pm •  Published: February 7, 2011

Patrick Peterson dad's always told his son grades come before football. After a heavy dose of tough love, he soon discovered his dad meant business.

Monday night, Peterson was in Oklahoma City to receive the Jim Thorpe Award, given annually to the best defensive back in college football, during a ceremony at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

Just one of Peterson's many honors.

A consensus All-American at LSU, Peterson also won the Chuck Bednarik Award for the nation's best defensive player, the first defensive back to earn the award since Charles Woodson in 1997. He was also named SEC defensive player and special teams player of the year. The top cornerback in the upcoming NFL Draft, Peterson figures to be a Top 5 pick.

Peterson, however, says it was his parents' act of tough love that set him on the course that's brought him so much reward.

Patrick Peterson Sr., his son's position coach at Pompano Beach's Ely (Fla.) High School, was unhappy with son's performance in the classroom as a freshman.

“He made a promise to me, that he wouldn't let his grades drop,” recalled Peterson Sr., who attended the Thorpe banquet with his son.

But Peterson's grades dropped the second half of his freshman year. His father waited until after Peterson had gained his eligibility in summer school to tell him he wouldn't be playing football that year.

“He thought I might not let him play 2-3 games,” Peterson Sr. said. “He came home one day and said, ‘Dad, we got practice at 3 o'clock.'

“I said, ‘I got practice at 3. You don't. You're no longer on the football team.'”

Tramel: Peterson impressive

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