Gateway: Sports

Peninsula running back Potter will go to WSU as preferred walk-on

Peninsula running back Braeden Potter (30) figures to shoulder an even bigger load in his senior season for the Seahawks.
Peninsula running back Braeden Potter (30) figures to shoulder an even bigger load in his senior season for the Seahawks.

From Purdy to Pullman. Peninsula High School senior running back Braeden Potter is headed to the Palouse, committing to play football for the Washington State University Cougars. He made the announcement on Twitter on Jan. 14.

Potter will be a preferred-walk on at Mike Leach’s Pac-12 program.

“I had a dream since I was little to play for a Pac-12 school,” Potter said. “I didn’t want the opportunity to slide by. It’s not going to happen to everybody. I wanted to take the chance. If I work hard enough, I know I could compete for a starting spot and maybe get on scholarship.”

Peninsula coach Ross Filkins advocated on Potter’s behalf to WSU running backs coach Eric Mele. Potter, who plans to study marketing management at WSU, said the culture of the program is similar to Peninsula’s.

“The culture of the program is awesome,” Potter said. “They don’t build you as just players, but as actual people and students.”

Potter said he fell in love with Pullman after visiting a spring practice.

“Just the campus, the whole environment there,” Potter said. “The practice is similar to Peninsula football, just with how it’s scheduled out. It’s more of a high-tempo practice.”

In his senior season, Potter rushed 147 times for 985 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also hauled in 15 receptions for 361 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 24.1 yards per reception.

Washington State head coach Mike Leach has built WSU into one of the top programs in the Pac-12 conference. WSU finished ranked No. 10 in the final AP Top 25 poll of the 2018 season.

“I like that he’s very honest about everything, he’s not going to sweet talk you,” Potter said. “And they have a very aggressive play style. Another thing with running backs, they can catch out of the back field, which is what I’ve done at Peninsula.”

Potter said he realizes seeing the field as a walk-on will be an uphill battle. He’s embracing that challenge.

“I think it’s going to be great,” Potter said. “I’m ready to work hard every day, stay in the weight room, stay in great shape. I’m going to fight for that starting spot.”

While Potter drew some interest from some Division III and Division II programs, none of the conversations even piqued his interest much.

“When it came down to it, I had the dream to play in the Pac-12 ever since I was little,” Potter said. “I’m ready to get back on the field, throw some pads on and do what I do best.”

In the meantime, Potter plans to play for the Peninsula High baseball team in the spring, as a pitcher and center fielder. He will enroll at WSU this summer.