April 4, 2011

Coach: Productive Peek is a different athlete

Mickey Conn has been the only football coach in Loganville (Ga.) Grayson's 11 year history and he has tutored several high-profile stars. Terry Williams plays at ECU right now, Kori Gaines suits up at BYU and Shaw Green is current with Georgia Tech. Lorenzo Washington won a National Championship with Alabama and is currently in the NFL. However, NC State signee Michael Peek, who started on the varsity team as a sophomore, is in a category all by himself, according to the longtime coach.

"I don't have his senior statistics in front of me, but we do a point chart for our defensive players and he was 100 points ahead of anybody we've ever had come through our school," Conn said. "It's based on making plays and I think he had four or five interceptions, two or three fumble recoveries, several broken-up passes, six or seven sacks and 120 tackles. The kid just made play after play.

"He creates turnovers and gets the ball back to the offense better than anybody we've ever had."

In addition to Peek's astounding numbers, he separates himself with superior athleticism, according to the coach who has sent more than 40 Grayson products into the college football ranks.

"He's definitely up there at the top [of Grayson's all-time players," he said. "Of course, we've had some really good players come through here but looking at that point production chart, if you go by that, he's the best we've ever had. We've got several guys that are out there [in college] that are really good but he's beaten them all in production on defense.

"They're all different and unique in their own way but Michael is 6-3 so he's tall but he's fast and lean, as well. He just has a different body type and is a different type of athlete than what we've had some through."

Conn thinks that his star senior will begin his career as an outside linebacker in Raleigh. During the courting process, Peek took visits to Georgia Tech, Maryland and Navy before making the trip to NC State in late January. His final visit was enough to convince the 215-pounder to switch his commitment from the Naval Academy to the Pack.

"I think the fact that they are in the ACC had a big part [in his switch]," Conn said. "Although he was offered by Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt was after him, I think the ACC had a lot to do with his choice. After his visit, he was very impressed with the facilities NC State has. I think that, as much as anything else, is the reason he chose NC State."

Coach Tom O'Brien's military background was something that caught Peek's eye when he and his coach were researching future destinations and Conn thinks that the player's trust in the coach only increased after his visit.

Peek and his squad went 13-1 this past fall, winning their regional championship and losing in the state semifinals. In addition to putting up the school's best-ever defensive season, Peek did a little bit of everything for Grayson, playing tight end and fullback on offense.

"He's as good as there is out there," the coach said. "He weighs about 220 pounds and runs a 4.5 40. He played inside linebacker for us and he would turn around and play some tight end and fullback on offense. He's got really soft hands, catches the ball really well and is very physical so he was a great blocker in our offense. He can carry the ball, too - I think the first three times he touched the ball on offense, he scored. The guy is just a phenomenal athlete.

"He made a lot of plays for our defense and I think he scored four touchdowns on offense. When we needed a play, he made it. "

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