You’d be hard pressed to be a sports fan living in south Tempe, let alone the rest of Arizona, and not have heard the name Peat.
Todd Peat Sr. played seven seasons as an offensive lineman in the NFL in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Less than a year ago, Todd Peat Jr. was a highly recruited defensive tackle that Arizona State let get away.
And then there is Andrus Peat, currently touted by ESPNU as one of the most coveted 2012 offensive line recruits in the nation. At last count Andrus had 38 scholarship offers including every team in the Pac-12. -
Will it ever stop? Maybe, but certainly not soon. The Peats—Jana and Todd Sr.—have seven children, and the third son, Cassius, is about to make some noise at Corona this fall.
Cassius, nicknamed “The Chosen One” by his dad, may just turn out to be the best athlete of the family.
“My Dad jokingly calls me The Chosen One,” said Cassius. “He thinks I may be the best athlete out of the bunch, but I obviously have really big shoes to fill.”
Cassius stands a good chance to match his brother’s athletic accolades if size is any indication. At just 14, he’s already 6 foot 4 inches and weighs 200 pounds. He can run the 40-yard dash in 4.73 and has a 34-inch vertical jump.
Like Andrus, Cassius plans on being a two-sport athlete at Corona, playing both football and basketball.
“This fall will be my first season playing tackle football,” said Cassius. “Just like my two older brothers who didn’t play until they were freshmen. It’s my Dad’s rule.”
“I think it’s real important that Cassius starts playing football on the freshman team, just the way his two older brothers started, where he will learn a lot about playing the game of football,” said Todd Peat Sr.
Cassius lists quarterback as his favored position, but Corona’s new football coach, Tom Joseph, may be thinking wide receiver, linebacker or even tight end for his incoming freshman athlete.
“I did varsity football passing-league this summer at linebacker and wide receiver,” said Cassius. “Coach Joseph talked to me about maybe playing quarterback on the freshman team so I can learn and eventually work my way up as a quarterback on the varsity team.”
Cassius has also been turning heads on the basketball court since he was an 11-year-old playing AAU with the Arizona Premier. This year he’s on two AAU teams, where he is often described as a big power player, an inside scorer and a solid defender.
“I play for the Arizona Magic Pump ‘n Run with older kids and then I play for the Arizona Warriors with kids my age,” said Cassius.
Cassius had a remarkable eighth-grade basketball season at Aprende last year, racking up over 18 points and almost 13 rebounds per game, according to his coach, Scott Grimditch. Cassius was able to get a feel for playing high school basketball with Corona’s summer basketball league.
“I played with Corona’s varsity team in their summer league, which was really fun,” said Cassius. “It’s a really big transition, though, to go from playing against kids my age to playing against 17- and 18-year- olds. The varsity level is much more physical and faster.”
“Cassius learned right away this summer, after leaving middle school, that as good as his skills are, he still has a lot of work to do to get up to speed in order to play high school basketball and football,” said Todd Peat Sr. “But Cassius has a great work ethic that has been with him since day one. Out of all my kids he works the hardest in sports and in the classroom.”
Corona’s basketball Coach Sam Duane Jr. agreed that it’s hard for a young player to make the adjustment to playing at a higher level, but he was pleased with Cassius’s development.
“Cassius had a very good summer and made great progress. He is very coachable, and that will benefit him as he continues to adjust to playing at the varsity level,” said Duane. “If he continues to work hard and improve, he has a chance to do great things in the future.”
No one knows what the future holds, but Cassius has his dreams and goals, not only for high school and college but beyond.
“My goals as of now are just to continue to get better every day and to continue to contribute to both the football and basketball teams at Corona. I would love to help the varsity basketball team win a state championship,” said Cassius.
“After high school, I want to be a two-sport athlete in college, but my biggest dream is to be a professional athlete.”
“I think a lot of young athletes dream of becoming a professional athlete, but it just motivates me to keep working hard so I can hopefully get there one day.”
“As I tell Cassius all the time, if he continues to work hard, the sky’s the limit,” said Todd Peat Sr.
Cassius definitely has a chance, with at least three good role models helping him along. That, coupled with hard work and strong family support, could help him realize one day that his Dad was right on the money when he nicknamed Cassius “The Chosen One.”