An Iron Bowl in Jordan-Hare Stadium was likely the biggest stage any of Auburn’s freshmen had played on to that point in their college careers.
Some survived and some thrived, with Jordyn Peters definitely among the newcomers who managed the latter.
“We’re real proud of how he’s developed,” said Muscle Shoals High School coach Scott Basden, who kept up with his former player in 2017. “He got an opportunity and did the most with it.”
On a critical third down during the second quarter of a tie game, it was Peters who came up with a critical pass breakup — against Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, of all people.
Seniors such as Tray Matthews and Stephen Roberts took Peters under their wings and asked the freshman to step up in a thinned-out safety unit. After adjusting quickly, he obliged. Among his 24 tackles on the year, Peters had a team-high 8 in the Peach Bowl loss to UCF.
“He just said the speed of the game is so different and he just, he felt real comfortable,” Basden said. “Coach [Kevin] Steele brought him along slow and didn’t put too much on him. He said he was very comfortable in the scheme he was playing and really enjoying it.”
Anther factor that may have allowed Peters to acclimate so fast as a freshman was his “dynamic personality.” It’s the thing that will help the 6-foot-1, 185-pound defensive back adopt a leadership role in 2018 and the years to come.
“That’s one thing that Jordyn’s always had,” Basden said. “He can light up any room. People gravitate towards people like that, and you’re going to know he’s there. I think that obviously helps.”
Basden doesn’t see a slump coming in Year 2 for Peters. Quite the opposite.
“I really believe he’ll get bigger physically and I think the sky is the limit for him,” Basden said. “He’ll play more of an impact role and I think, obviously Coach Steele does a great job and he used him on some blitz packages this year. I just see that role expanded for him.”
The two haven’t had an in-depth conversation about being more vocal during his second season on the Plains, but the Trojans coach has no doubts that’s what Peters will do.
“We haven’t talked about that, but I know it’s just his personality,” Basden said. “He’s going take ownership and he’ll be a great leader there.”