Tennessee football: 15 potential dark-horse Vols for 2019 season

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 09: Carlin Fils-Aime
KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 09: Carlin Fils-Aime /
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Joining Solon Page III as a No. 2 inside linebacker listed on the depth chart is J.J. Peterson. That was more expected since he was not a guy who played with the first team in spring ball. However, he still has a ton of potential at 6’2″ 233 pounds and, unlike Page, is a Jeremy Pruitt recruit, which means he’s more likely to be a fit for what Pruitt wants at inside linebacker.

An academic issue kept Peterson from joining Tennessee football until really late in 2018. Despite taking a redshirt and missing a ton of practice, he still was able to get into four games last year and gain some experience.

As a result, Peterson, like Page, has a decent chance of becoming a rotational guy at inside linebacker this year. Again, with the retirement of Darrin Kirkland Jr., Peterson can take advantage as much as anybody. And he could also benefit this weekend with the injury to Daniel Bituli. Pruitt will likely look at all the linebackers and see how they can perform.

Once a four-star recruit, there is plenty of reason to believe in Peterson’s future, even if he hasn’t shown much so far. Again, he’s not likely to emerge as a superstar, but he’s a great dark-horse candidate to be a rotational player this year.