In towns all across America, Friday nights are meant for local high school football. This is where local legends can be born and communities can rally around high school players that they may know depending on the size of the community. This fact is especially true in small towns all across the country.
In these small towns, star players can become legends that are talked about for a long time, but these small town stars have a hard time getting a chance at the highest levels of college football.
Steven Peoples was one of those small town kids that wanted that chance to become not only a high school star, but also make it at the collegiate at a major FBS program and not just a lower-level program.
Peoples is from Galax, Virginia, a town that has a population of about 7,000 people near the Virginia-North Carolina border in Southwest Virginia. Galax High School has had plenty of success in athletics at the 1A level with multiple VHSL titles over the last few years.
Peoples is probably now known as the greatest player to ever play for Galax High School with an incredible senior season that is truly incredible at any level. Peoples had 3,078 rushing yards and 44 touchdowns in his senior season in 2013. Peoples also had one game where he broke the VHSL single-game rushing record with 502 rushing yards.
Peoples had an incredible high school career, but that didn’t make much of a difference for him with recruiting with 247 Sports barely having him ranked as a two-star fullback. Peoples received an offer from North Carolina A&T, but the Galax star had his eyes set on playing not too far away from home for the program that is adored in Southwest Virginia, the Virginia Tech Hokies.
However, the road for him to get to Blacksburg didn’t go straight from Galax to the heart Hokie Nation. Instead, he made a one semester stop at Fork Union Military Academy this fall where multiple new Hokies were at in the fall including Tyrell Smith, Yosuah Nijman, and Jack Click.
Steven Peoples arrived this spring in Blacksburg as the third-string fullback though in reality, he was the fourth-string fullback with Sam Rogers out. To say the odds seemed against Peoples getting a lot of playing time at either running back or fullback were high, but he was ready to embrace the challenge.
Peoples has risen the challenge and is looking like he could end up being one of the greatest walk-ons that the Hokies have ever had. Peoples already is proving to be better than FBs Jerome Wright and Logan Adkins, and RB D.J. Reid to prove that he should be no worse than the backup fullback.
However, Peoples is also looking like he is ready to push the other running backs for some playing time. Right now, Peoples would still probably be the fifth running back behind J.C. Coleman, injured Marshawn Williams, Trey Edmunds, and Travon McMillian though Peoples and McMillian both seem to be pushing each other and the healthy guys ahead of him.
Peoples has not only shown a lot of strength, but also a lot of explosiveness, speed, and agility that make him an intriguing running back prospect. The Hokies have been showing some clips of practice through Snapchat and in that limited sample, Peoples has not only looked better than McMillian, but has also looked like a potential hidden gem.
Steven Peoples has also looked quite good in both scrimmages with a 60-yard touchdown run in the second scrimmage being the highlight of his spring. With the Hokies still having one more scrimmage and the Spring Game, Peoples has two more chances to continue to show how he is a hidden gem that could earn some playing time at running back this fall with the ceiling of being a really good starting running back.
Galax, Virginia is not where anyone will usually look for a contributor for a power-conference college football team, but Peoples is proving that you can never overlook the small town high school football star, and the Hokies are prepared to reap the benefits of giving him a shot as a walk-on.
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