It wasn’t much of a secret or surprise that outside linebacker JJ Peterson committed to Tennessee on Saturday. This doesn’t make it any less of a big deal, though. Peterson is the No. 2 prospect at his position in the Class of 2018, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
Let’s get to know commitment No. 18 for the Vols.
Skill set: Peterson lined up as an edge rusher a lot for Colquitt County (Moultrie, Ga.). His goal was to get into the backfield and disrupt plays. Peterson has a quick first step, which can allow him to get around slower offensive linemen. Peterson even returned kickoffs for his high school team. He isn’t fast enough to do this at Tennessee, but it highlights his athleticism. At 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, he blends an array of skills with SEC size.
Immediate impact: Peterson likely will be playing an important role early for the Vols. Tennessee does not have a player on its roster who mirrors what Peterson can do. Peterson fits perfectly into what coach Jeremy Pruitt wants from the 3-4 scheme he is implementing. Peterson has the potential to be starting in the season opener against West Virginia.
Fitting into the program: Peterson is the first big-time defensive commitment Pruitt has brought on board. He fits the Alabama mold of players Pruitt has coached in the past. Peterson is big, fast and has NFL potential written all over him. Pruitt has the task of changing the culture in Knoxville. Adding prospects such as Peterson can help make the change go smoother.
Recruiting at the position: Tennessee signed junior college transfer Jordan Allen, who fits the 3-4 pass rusher role much like Peterson. The Vols also have a commitment from Matthew Flint, who expected to sign during the early period but held off. This could suggest the coaching staff is gauging the interest on a few other prospects and told Flint to wait.