A four-star commitment to Tennessee football’s 2018 recruiting class, J.J. Peterson likely planned to make more of an impact as a true freshman. However, academic coursework kept him from being able to join the team midway through the season. And despite very limited time practicing with them, he still saw action in four games and recorded a tackle.
Peterson then took a redshirt, but the potential is clearly there. Now, with the injury retirement of Darrin Kirkland Jr., the Vols are looking for more help at inside linebacker alongside Daniel Bituli. Shanon Reid, Solon Page III and Will Ignont are all there to do that. The same holds true with freshman phenoms Quavaris Crouch and Henry To’oto’o.
But Peterson could be in that mix as well. When Jeremy Pruitt said at SEC Media Days the Vols were more on the potential side of things, he was referring to inside linebacker, a unit with a chance to be extremely deep but limited playing experience outside of Bituli, more than anywhere else. And Peterson is the epitome of that more than anybody else.
As a result, expect Peterson to make his presence felt with the Vols this year. He’s got too much potential, and we’ve heard too much about him, for his name to be quiet at a position that has a major opening. That’s why he’s so high on the list.