Well, it's official. Adrian Peterson will be leaving the sticks of Norman to pursue a career in the NFL. Experts have him slotted as the top running back in this year's class. Looking at Mr. Peterson as objectively as I can through my burnt orange glasses, I'm not sold on his potential.
Peterson grew up idolizing the Horn culture. But, when signing day came, he elected to immigrate north of the border. He even went as far as saying "Oklahoma plays for national championships and Texas doesn't. I’m going to Oklahoma to win a championship." Well, Peterson had his shot as a freshman. But, a 55-19 drubbing by USC prevented him from fulfilling the prophecy. Meanwhile, the school he passed over found a way to beat the Trojans in one of the best college games ever played.
What does Peterson have to show for his decision? An outstanding freshman year where he came in second in the Heisman voting and two Big 12 titles...that's about it. He leaves ou with a 1-2 record in bowl games (0-2 in BCS bowls) and a matching record against the team that allegedly couldn't win championships. Peterson was part of the worst team in the Stoops era and spent 25% of his career riding the bench with injuries. With two potential national championship caliber teams, Peterson came out on the short end.
Texas fans can relate.
We had a quarterback named Chris Simms that was destined to take us to new heights. But, he never lived up to the potential he allegedly had. While he had an impressive record at Texas, he failed to garner a single Big 12 title or even a win over ou. Simms too was bitten by the injury bug and also had the disadvantage of getting the nod over fan favorite Major Applewhite. Simms was highly touted in the TV spots leading up to the draft. When the day ended, he was the last name across the ticker having fallen to the second round. While he has had some decent showings with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he has been nothing short of ordinary.
So I ask this question humbly: What exactly does Peterson do that makes him have such high expectations?
In college, Peterson was a formidable foe. After he ran all over the Texas defense in 2004, I always winced when I saw him carry the ball. But, there are dozens of power backs in the NFL. Peterson isn't a Reggie Bush type of player that can beat you with his speed around the corner. He is a north and south runner that is dependant on a good offensive line to see any mentionable production. If he is taken with a high pick, and was not traded for, this more than likely will not be the case. His durability in a situation where players are bigger and faster than the college game also has to be a cause on concern.
From a business standpoint, Peterson is making the correct decision. But, I fail to see where the claims are backed up. It is simply a case of not living up to the hype.