By: Steve Wiltfong | Noles247
May 13, 2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (247SPORTS) -- Xavier Peters returned home from Tallahassee to find his son crawling. The next time he came home, the Florida State defensive end said his boy was walking.
“The part that really scared me was the next time I came home he could be riding a bike,” Peters told 247Sports.
With that, the former Top247 recruit out of West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West, who signed with the Seminoles as one of the ballyhooed recruits in Willie Taggart’s 2018 recruiting class, elected to put his name in the NCAA Transfer Portal Thursday morning.
“I just want to be home to support him,” Peters said of his one-year old son who has the same name. “If I was thinking just about me I’d stay at Florida State.”
The 6-foot-4, 232-pound Peters saw action in two games last fall as a true freshman, registering a tackle and a pass breakup versus Wake Forest and also getting time against the defending National Champs Clemson. This is the second time Peters has put his name in the portal, having done so back in December, but this time it’s for good.
“I had a lot to think about,” Peters said. “I knew I wanted to be closer to home. This is a family move. I told Coach Taggart this had nothing to do with his program or Florida State. This is all because of family issues.”
Talking to his son on FaceTime every day was not what Peters wanted. He says he will look at schools in the Big Ten and SEC moving forward.
“The thing that got me, my son’s birthday is Sept. 15,” Peters said. “If I stayed at Florida State I wouldn’t see him on his birthday until he’s five-years old because we always have a game. If I’m closer to home, he can come to my games, my grandma can come, I had no support family wise.
“This is a hard situation and a tough pill to swallow.”
The industry-generated 247Sports Composite ranked Peters as the nation’s No. 12 outside linebacker, No. 6 recruit overall in the state of Ohio and No. 174 prospect nationally in that 2018 class. He was an Under Armour All-American and also earned an invite to the prestigious The Opening Finals prior to his senior season. He registered 78 tackles, six sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery as a senior at Lakota West.
Peters knows what he’s looking for in his next school but isn’t sure on who’s in the mix moving forward. Kentucky was in the driver seat for much of his recruitment and he was committed to the Wildcats from Jan. 4 2017 through Jan. 28, 2018 where he flipped during an official visit to Florida State. He signed in February and enrolled the ensuing August.
“I’m not even looking at the football facilities,” he said. “I’m looking for a campus I know my kid is safe on. I want to feel that vibe where I’m comfortable.”
Peters did miss some of spring ball because of a violation of team rules, but Taggart liked the progress he saw from the young pass rusher.
"X is growing up, he’s getting confident with what he’s doing and knowing his assignments,” Taggart said in March. “Because the kid plays with fanatical effort, he makes unbelievable plays all the time and you love seeing those kind of kids out there on the football field. Especially on the defensive side of the ball.”