By Ray Hamill — Former McKinleyville Panther Bryce Petersen has found a new home and is eager to make the most of his final year playing football at the collegiate level.
After three years playing for the Akron Zips, the 2017 Mack graduate recently committed to play at San Jose State for his senior year.
And he’s determined to enjoy the experience.
“I think I just want to go down there and leave no stone unturned, knowing this is my last opportunity, and to know I did absolutely everything I could,” he said. “And if I do that I’ll have no regrets.”
Petersen was a three-year starter at center for the Zips, who struggled to a 5-25 record in that time.
After sitting out the 2021 season, the former H-DNL player reconsidered his options and entered the transfer portal, hoping for a more successful conclusion to his college career while playing somewhere closer to home.
“As much as I enjoyed my time out there, this was a great opportunity,” he said. “I made life-long friends at Akron, but it was one of those things where I definitely missed playing closer to home.”
San Jose will be his third stop at the collegiate level, having also played at Riverside City College during his freshman year, and he joins a Spartans team that has posted a 12-8 record over the past two seasons, including going 5-7 in 2021.
Petersen’s decision was also based partially on some first-hand feedback from his father, Drew Petersen, who is the long-time strength and conditioning coach at Humboldt State and worked with the Spartans in each of the past two summers when they held their preseason training camp in the Redwood Bowl.
“I heard nothing but good things about how the program is run and how the coaches and players carried themselves when they were up here,” said Bryce, who added that he “felt an immediate connection with the coaches” when he met them on a recruiting visit.
As for his role with the new team, Petersen knows he will have to earn a starting job, although he feels it is a great opportunity for him after the team graduated an experienced senior starter this year.
“I think anywhere you go you’re going to have to compete to earn your way on the field,” he said. “But I feel like it’s a good situation for me.
“Hopefully I will be able to keep playing center, which is my most comfortable position.”
Petersen will head down to San Jose next week and begin a five-week weight lifting program with the team before taking to the field for spring ball.
And he’s hoping the Spartans will hold their training camp at the Redwood Bowl again this summer, with the team having built a strong relationship with Humboldt State.
“To get to suit up in the Redwood Bowl would be awesome,” he said.
Future on the sidelines
The fifth-year player is one of several graduate transfers to join the Spartans this year and will continue to pursue his master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies.
After that he says he would love the opportunity to go pro if that comes around, and that he is also interested in a possible future on the sidelines.
“It’s definitely a goal (to keep playing), but I know how difficult it is so it’s not something I’m counting on,” he said. “I just want to focus on having a good year and making the most of it and see where the cards fall.
“Coaching is definitely something I’m interested in. After taking four or five months away from the game you realize how much you miss it, so coaching is something I would like to pursue.”
Petersen isn’t the only experienced player transferring to the Spartans this season, with former University of Hawaii quarterback Chevan Cordeiro also joining the program after a very successful run with the Rainbow Warriors.
The standout QB threw for 6,167 yards and 45 touchdowns in 36 games at Hawaii, while also running for 1,083 yards and 13 scores.
Petersen also considered transferring to Boise State.
“It was a very tough decision because they’re both awesome programs,” he said.