Peterson brothers make Grand Valley football a family affair

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Three brothers stand next to each other wearing GVSU football uniforms

Cade Peterson, left, and Drew Peterson, center, pose for a photo with their younger brother, Brett, following a Lakers game. Brett signed a Letter of Intent with GVSU in February, uniting the three brothers on the team next season.

Brett will become the third Peterson brother to play for the Lakers after making it official in February on National Signing Day. He joins his two older brothers on a Laker team that ranks among the best in Division II. 

It’s not uncommon to see a pair of brothers suit up on the same collegiate team, but to have three on one team is truly rare. Though nearly four years separate the oldest, Cade, from the youngest, Brett, the dream of the three brothers competing in a game is a possibility.

“To see your sons be able to play together, make that connection and the importance of them being teammates, just melts a mom’s heart to know they’ll all be together,” said Michele.

The NCAA granted student athletes an extra year of eligibility due to the pandemic wiping out seasons. Cade and Drew also have redshirted seasons, which coaches implement to limit playing time so student athletes can develop.

Cade, who graduated in May, will continue his studies in graduate school with two years of NCAA eligibility remaining. Brett will likely be redshirted in his upcoming freshman year, creating the chance for the three brothers to take the field in the 2023 season.

“There’s a lot of work to be done between the three of us, but if the chance came, it would be awesome,” said Cade.

Because of their age differences, the three have never played on a team together. Michele said she is already anxious for the magic moment. 

“I am extremely emotionally crier when my boys are out there,” said Michele. “I’m not going to be able to hold it together. It’s going to be a pretty awesome thing. My dad is so excited to have three grandsons who will be playing for the Lakers.”

The Peterson family stands together in the fieldhouse

Dad Tim Peterson, second from left, and mom Michele Peterson said they are anxious and excited to see their three sons on the field together for the Lakers.

The brothers spent their childhood playing a variety of sports. But when your dad and maternal grandfather are football coaches, it’s easy to see which sport they gravitated toward.

“To be honest, I never thought it was going to turn out like this,” said Tim. “I never thought two of them, let alone three, would be playing on the same team.”

Getting to this point was a challenging one. Ask any football recruit what the process is like, and they will say it can be a grueling year or two with a steady stream of coaches calling and visiting. 

But, to the Petersons, it was important for each of their sons to experience the recruiting process and make their own decisions, said Tim.

“Cade was getting tired of recruiting, and he was comfortable at Grand Valley,” said Tim. “For Drew, there were a lot of schools because of his projections. Some schools were clamoring over him. Once he was on campus though, he really loved it. 

“Brett had some really hard decisions. He could have played at some of the military academies, but at that point, Grand Valley was such a familiar place that it felt like home.”

Cade said he’s giving his brothers space to follow their own paths and explore college athletically and academically to develop relationships.

“I really feel like I’ve grown as a person, having my own experiences, inside and outside of football,” said Cade. “They’ll need to find their way, and need some of that independence and raw experiences when a family member isn’t there. It’s all new when you come here.”

Hopefully, in two years time, the three can share one experience together, taking the field for the Lakers. 

Grand Valley opens its 2022 football season on September 1 at home against Colorado School of Mines. Season and single-game tickets are available at