The next player in Iowa State’s 2019 recruiting class is a 6’4, 240-pound defensive end out of South Dakota, Blake Peterson. 247sports has Peterson ranked as a four star and just outside the Top 300 of the 2019 class. Last week, I broke down Breece Hall’s film, and, like Hall, Peterson is enrolled this semester and took part in spring practices.
Peterson is coming into Iowa State’s most loaded position group, the defensive line. The Cyclone d-line is returning all of its starters from last year’s loaded front. For defensive ends specifically, Spencer Benton is the only guy to graduate from last year’s team. That means guys like Jaquan Bailey, Enyi Uwazurike, Matt Leo, and Zach Petersen. These are four guys who saw the field the last year quite a bit, two of which are seniors who have helped put the program back on the map. Blake Peterson joining this group should be good news for Cyclone fans.
Blake Peterson looks like your prototypical defensive end, using his size and strength to overpower offensive lineman. He does this at a very efficient level while in high school, which is obviously a lot harder to maintain once he moves onto college. However, his frame has a ton of promise and he should be able to grow into a very good college player.
For his size, Peterson is also very fast. As you will see later, Peterson will benefit from being on the weak side because he excels at being the contain guy on the edge to go along with his pass-rushing abilities.
This was a simple counter play by the offense, and Blake put himself in pretty good position by staying home. The offensive line pulled, with the guard assigned to block Peterson, but Blake made him look dumb. The guard appeared to have good form, but ended up going a little high and Peterson pancaked him. After that, he had a clear shot at the running back and picked up a tackle for loss.
This defense is in a 3-4 scheme, which happens to be Jon Heacock’s bread and butter. Peterson rushes the quarterback on the strong side and quickly eludes a double team. He then chases down the quarterback and sacks him from behind. Peterson really shows off his elite power and speed on this play, and looks like an elite defensive end with his pursuit of the quarterback.
On this play, it appeared that Peterson allowed the running back to get the edge on him. Instead, he just threw the tackle by his shoulder pads and made a great open field tackle. For the better part of his film he looks like a man amongst boys, but it’s even more apparent on this play.
On this play, Peterson shows off his tremendous reach. He went over the smaller defender to bat down a ball that would’ve likely been a completion in the flats. This will be vital during his career at Iowa State, mainly because a lot of teams do their damage against the Cyclones in the flats. Any added value he provides in knocking down out routes and passes to the flats will make the Cyclone defense even nastier.
Like I stated above, it looks like Peterson’s high school team ran a 3-4 defense which is somewhat similar to Iowa State’s primary defense, so he won’t have to completely relearn his position. From a play standpoint, Iowa State tends to do a little bit of everything. They’ll occasionally mix in a few stunts, but their main goal is just to bully their way around the outside while Ray Lima soaks up two or three defenders up the middle, and blitzing linebackers and safeties create havoc. Peterson’s style of pure power and quickness are an excellent fit.
There’s a reason Peterson is the highest ranked defensive player in Iowa State’s class. He has all the intangibles to play defensive end at the Big 12 level.
With an already loaded defensive front, he may not see a ton of playing time. However, thanks to the new rule where a player can play up to four games and still be able to redshirt, he’ll likely at least get his four game appearances. If he happens to be too good leave off the field, that’s nothing but good news.
I don’t think Peterson will make a huge impact on the field during his freshman year, but he will grow into a very good defensive lineman throughout his career in Ames. Having the chance to learn behind an elite group of guys will be a great opportunity to blossom into another great Iowa State defensive lineman.