Andrus Peat just next in line

When it comes to football, offensive tackle Andrus Peat (Corona Del Sol High School, Tempe, Ariz.) has a lot of built-in advantages.

His father, Todd, spent seven seasons in the NFL as an offensive lineman. He has imparted all kinds of wisdom to his 6-foot-7, 298-pound progeny, including weekly film sessions.

Then there's his older brother, Todd Jr., against whom Andrus battled every day in practice for two years. How much did that help? Todd Jr. was a four-star defensive tackle in the Class of 2011 and signed with Nebraska in February.

It all has led to Andrus, a member of the ESPNU Watch List, being one of the most coveted offensive line recruits in the nation.

"Andrus is the real deal," Corona Del Sol coach Tom Joseph said. "He has really good feet and long arms. He has a real powerful base. He has those big hands and glutes and this kid has a lot of power.

"His main thing is pass protection. He can improve in run blocking, but when he wants to he can really drive block."

Peat has 38 scholarship offers and that number continues to grow. Every team from the Pac-12 has offered, along with Nebraska, Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, Florida, FSU, Miami, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Texas and Michigan. He's one of those recruits in the Class of 2012 who can practically name his school.

"I am looking for a place where I can come in early and play," Andrus said. "Academics are very important, too. Plus, I want to get to know the coaches and the players. That bond will be important."

The most important bond for Andrus has been the one with his father. Todd Peat played his high school football in the Midwest and his college football at Northern Illinois before spending seven seasons with the St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals and the Oakland Raiders.

"It's like living with your own personal coach," Andrus said. "My dad played in the league and played with some great players. He knows everything about the game and he has helped me out so much. Personally I think I can do it all and am pretty advanced for my age.

"I am trying to get bigger and stronger and I recently added good pounds of muscle. That's been my main focus, trying to get stronger in the upper body."

Joseph took over the Corona Del Sol program in January. He's preaching the weight room to Peat. Peat has worked hard there, and it will also help that his basketball days look to be over. That means more time getting bigger and stronger in the gym.

"Andrus has a great wing span and is just now filling out in the shoulders," Joseph said. "He never really worked on his upper body but has put on 20 pounds since January.

"He plays basketball and he's a talented big man that's a big body in the paint. They made it to the state semis. He's not going to play basketball this coming year to concentrate on football."

One thing Andrus will miss this season is playing with Todd Jr. The two are very close and they were great practice opponents.

"Todd was always a tough guy to block," Andrus said. "Playing against him made the games easier. He has also helped me out a whole bunch. Todd is one of the smartest players I have ever seen. He knows the game so well."

Knowing and understanding the game of football is something that all the Peat brothers have gotten from their father. He's a big believer in film study and that alone has rubbed off on his kids.

"To me, the biggest thing besides being good players is that you have to be students of the game," Todd Peat Sr. said. "That goes a long way. During the fall we watch film at house 10 hours a week. We share insight in preparing for game and knowing the opponent. They see value in that, Todd in particular. He was so into it I would have to turn it off in his room because it got to the point with him that enough is enough."

Peat is very proud of his kids and knows that when it comes to the future of Andrus, it gets brighter by the day.

"I played the game at each level," Peat Sr. said. "So for me as a parent, it's a lot of fun to watch them develop. I do get a little nervous watching them play, but you hope they stay healthy and be the very best they can be.

"With Andrus, I ponder a lot of things in my heart. I want to be realistic about his abilities. But with him, the sky is the limit. It just depends on how hard he wants to work, and he understands that. For him, right now, he has all the fundamentals that great left tackles have. He has good feet, mastered some technique already, and he knows how to execute blocks. And he's starting to get pretty strong in weight room. The top of him is starting to fill out."

Andrus Peat hopes to soon cut his expansive school list down to a manageable number. He's currently open, and he's already had the good fortune to see quite a few schools.

"I have seen Stanford, USC, FSU, Arizona State and Clemson," Andrus said. "I need to get over to Nebraska and see Todd play and check out the atmosphere there. I want to see Notre Dame, Texas and Florida. There are a lot of schools I want to see, but I know I can't see them all. I will try this summer and take my official visits this fall. I want to cut my list down to 8-10 schools when we finish up spring practice in a few weeks."

Nebraska fans would love to see him follow his older brother to Lincoln. So would Todd Jr. But in the end, Todd Jr. wants his younger brother to make his own decision.

"Todd told me to make the best decision for me," Andrus said. "He told me to look at all my options. I would love to play with him again and that would mean following him to Nebraska. But if I don't, he will certainly understand."

The brothers are close. And there's another one coming down the pike in the Class of 2015. Cassius Peat, according to Joseph and Andrus, may be the most athletic of the brothers.

"Todd has a little bit of a different demeanor," Joseph said. "Andrus is more cerebral and a very good student. Cassius is unique. He looks like a wide receiver/tight end who is 6-2 and 185 pounds and runs well. He's also a good basketball player. Cassius will only be in ninth grade and could be a linebacker. He has a chance to be on the varsity, but I am not sure where he will be until we get him here and evaluate him."

Cassius will have to wait his turn, as Andrus still has one more year at Corona Del Sol. Meanwhile, he can pull up a chair in the film session and start soaking up all of the knowledge around him.

Jamie Newberg has been covering recruiting in the Southeast and nationally for 19 years. He can be reached at jamienewbergbw@yahoo.com.