Photo: Mike Peterson; Credit: Alex Shepherd
When Florida Gators head coach Billy Napier was introduced as the team’s next head coach, he promised Gator Nation an “army” when describing his incoming coaching staff.
The staff will be made up of assistants who are recognized in the college football world as the best in the game.
“We’re going to hire an army here,” Napier said Dec. 5. “We’re going to create infrastructure not just in personnel, but from campus recruiting, creative media, names, images and likenesses. We’re going to create — we’re going to create the organization we’re going to create here.”
Of course, Napier wasn’t just referring to the assistant coach he would eventually lock down, but also the massive support staff — 48 people who were ultimately used to help build the workforce.
Having said that, over the next few weeks, we will be Crocodile Profiles will be posted to learn about each assistant coach, including their background, hiring history, offers, and more.
Next up is Gator Great and current outside linebackers coach Mike Peterson, who needs little introduction.
Peterson, 45, played linebacker for Florida State in the 1995-98 season. He was also part of the 1996 Florida team that won the national championship with a 12-1 victory over Florida State. He started 24 games with 249 steals, 3 forced turnovers, 13 steals, and 8.5 sacks.
In 2011, he was named “Gator Great” and inducted into the University of Florida Sports Hall of Fame.
After his college career, Peterson was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the second round of the 1999 NFL Draft. During the prime of his career, he only played there for four years before leaving the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency. In 2005, he was named to the All-Star Second Team.
After 13 seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, he will end his NFL career by playing for the team in 2009-12.
Peterson quickly began teaching, first joining Florida in 2013 as a student assistant while earning his undergraduate degree. He will then be promoted to the team’s strength and conditioning coach, a position he will continue in the 2014-15 season.
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After a year on the staff of Florida’s new head coach Jim McElwain, Peterson will follow his former HC Will Muschamp to South Carolina, where he will be the program’s outside linebackers coach from 2016-21, with Muschamp and Currently working under SC HC Shane Beamer.
Now, he’s back where it all started in the same role.
Peterson, another coach on Napier’s coaching staff, doesn’t have a rich history as a major or minor recruiter in the recruiting field, but he does bring a little pedigree as a former NFL player. Peterson, who is expected to be one of Florida’s key recruiters, has already offered several prospects for next year’s class.
In South Carolina, however, Peterson did play a role in attracting five-star recruits, defensive end Jordan Birchaccording to the 247Sports Composite, he was named the No. 8 player in the nation.
Peterson also helped introduce DE Brad Johnsonhe had some breakthroughs in SC last season, totaling 74 tackles, 4 tackles lost and 2.5 sacks.
Along with the recruits, Peterson was instrumental in bringing two players into the NFL, including DE Kingsley Engbar (Green Bay Packers, 5th round in 2022) and LB DJ Wynham (Minnesota Vikings, 4th round 2020).
how are things:
In a short amount of time, Peterson has already made an intriguing impact on the Gators recruiting effort, tasked with helping Land 2022 recruit, DL Andrew Savinaia Leave Washington.
Peterson also played a major role in the program’s attempt to land Jones (FL) LB Malik Bryant, is currently ranked No. 2 LB in the country and No. 9 in Florida. Bryant is expected to announce his commitment to a program on July 23.
Available to quote:
“Mike is a fantastic coach. Every one of his careers knows and respects Mike’s ability to make his players perform well, and the relationship he has with them. Of course, he’s not only in college but also in” – Peterson’s Napier.
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