Alabama is Making Last-Ditch Effort to Steal 4-Star Vol Commit

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    (Photo via Dean Legge/Dawg Post, Scout.com)

    Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt and his staff were able to secure a commitment from one of the top outside linebackers in the 2018 class when J.J. Peterson announced his pledge to the Vols on January 6th. Pruitt was able to get Peterson to commit despite the talented linebacker holding offers from Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, and others.

    But now Nick Saban and the Tide are making a last-ditch effort to try and sway Peterson to flip to Alabama. And they’re making progress according to Peterson’s high school head coach.

    Rush Propst, the head coach at Colquitt County High School in Moultrie, Georgia, spoke with AL.com about Peterson’s recruitment. And according to Propst, Alabama has pulled even with the Vols for Peterson’s signature.

    “Alabama has made a very strong push,” Propst told AL.com. “I don’t think either one, Alabama or Tennessee, is a clear favorite as of Sunday afternoon. I think it’s a dead heat right now, 50-50.”

    Peterson, who is rated as the No. 48 overall player and No. 3 outside linebacker in the 2018 class according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, is only committed to Tennessee. He announced his commitment after the early signing period in December, so he’s not bound to the Vols.

    And Nick Saban is doing everything he can to try and convince Peterson to switch to the Crimson Tide.

    “As long as I’ve known Coach Saban, I’ve never seen anybody pick up the pressure more than he did on JJ as far as just trying to get him to change his mind or take his visits and see which one you like after the visits and make your mind up after you do that,” Propst stated. “So I would think Alabama’s in a very good position right now.”

    Peterson is currently the highest-rated prospect in Tennessee’s 2018 class. The next-highest recruit in the Vols’ class is four-star athlete Alontae Taylor who is rated as the No. 122 overall player according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.

    As a senior, Peterson totaled 110 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, five sacks, three fumble recoveries, and two pass break-ups.

    The Vols are in a battle for another outside linebacker with Alabama as well. Five-star linebacker and current Alabama commit Quay Walker is currently trying to decide between Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia.

    Tennessee can hardly afford to lose Peterson, because losing him would significantly reduce their chances of landing Walker as well. Pruitt would love to have both to come in and compete for immediate playing time at outside linebacker in the Vols’ new 3-4 defensive scheme, and Tennessee’s defense would benefit immediately and in the long-term with both in the fold.



    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.