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August 20, 2011To build a national contender you have to have quality lines and Southern Miss head coach Larry Fedora knows that all to well. Well the Eagles made another step in the right direction on Saturday morning when Auburn (Ala.) High offensive tackle Caleb Peterson pledged to the Eagles.
"I made the decision last night to commit to the University of Southern Mississippi," Peterson said.
Peterson was heavily recruited by a who's who of programs across the South including home state powers Alabama and Auburn. He also received offers from Arkansas, Duke, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miss State and Stanford.
With a list of suitors like that the decision making process couldn't be easy. So what was it about the Eagles that set them apart?
"I visited a lot of schools over the last couple of years, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia Tech, MSU, just a bunch of schools," he said. "I just feel more comfortable at Southern Miss. I have the best relationship with Coach Kap."
Peterson not only built a strong relationship with offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic, but also with head coach Larry Fedora and recruiting coordinator Robert Matthews.
Southern Miss winning tradition was also impressive to Peterson.
"They have a winning tradition," he said. "Not a lot of schools have that kind of tradition. They're headed in the right direction. Coach Fedora wants to take them to a BCS Bowl."
During his visits he got to see first hand the type of respect Southern Miss demands.
"I went to UCF on a visit," he said. "They won C-USA last year, but when you go in their weight room in front of every squat rack is a big Eagle head taped to the wall. All they're thinking about is Southern Miss."
Peterson also believes that Southern Miss is the perfect avenue to his ultimate dream of playing in the NFL.
"A lot of people think the road to the NFL is easier at Alabama or Auburn," he said. "But, it's not easier. All of these college and NFL coaches know each other. The coaching business is a small world. When I was at Auburn I was talking to their coaches and they all know the Southern Miss coaches, Coach Chizik interned with one of the coaches at Southern Miss."
As the NFL continues to evolve the Southern Miss offense and the blocking schemes taught by Kapilovic also factored into his decision.
"I just love the offense," he said. "The way Coach Kap teaches the line."
Peterson also may be as familier with the Southern Miss recruiting class as any die hard follower of BGN.
"They're putting together a great class," he said. "Bryce Giddens from Colquitte County (Ga.), he really good he's as strong as a bull. They've got a lot of great players committed."
One of the big questions that will certainly be on the mind of many followers of the recruiting process is how much did older brother Taylor Peterson factor into the decision making process. Taylor is a redshirt freshman at Southern Miss and is locked in a heated contest to start at guard for the Eagles.
"When I made my decision I had to take him out of the decision making process," Caleb said. "We'll probalby only get to play together a couple of years. I believe that if he had been somewhere else I would have still committed to Southern Miss."
There's just something special about Southern Miss.
"When I go to Southern Miss I just get a feeling that I didn't get anywhere else," he said. "I just know when I am on campus that Southern Miss is where I am supposed to be."
Peterson becomes the 18th commitment of the 2012 recruiting class for the Eagles.
Stay locked on BigGoldNation.com for complete coverage of Southern Miss football recruiting.