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J.J. Peterson Ranked as Top 5 Incoming Freshman Linebacker

Photo Credit: Mason Burgin/RTI

Tennessee’s 2018 signing class may not have been as highly-rated as Georgia’s or Alabama’s for example, but there are still a number of players in their class who are expected to make immediate impacts in 2018.

Football statistician and analyst Phil Steele has comprised lists of his top 50 incoming freshmen at every position for the upcoming 2018 football season. Tennessee 2018 early enrollee Greg Emerson was one of his top 10 true freshman defensive linemen, and now another Vol has cracked the top 10 of one of Steele’s rankings.

According to Steele, elite 2018 linebacker J.J. Peterson will be one of the best freshmen linebackers in the 2018 class. The Vols’ signee comes in at No. 4 on Steele’s ranking of 50 true freshmen linebackers for 2018 and is tops in the SEC. Georgia’s Brenton Cox (6th) is the next-closest among SEC linebackers.

Peterson was the Vols’ highest-rated player in their 2018 class and was one of the highest-rated outside linebackers in the entire 2018 recruiting cycle. The 247Sports Composite rankings had Peterson listed as the No. 3 outside linebacker in the country and the No. 48 overall player in the entire 2018 class.

According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Peterson is the highest-rated high school senior linebacker the Vols have signed since Chris Donald in the 2007 class. Donald was ranked as the No. 39 overall player and 2nd-best linebacker in the 2007 class. Donald played sparingly at Tennessee and ended up transferring to Chattanooga.

Vol fans hope that Peterson turns in a much better Tennessee career than Donald, however. And Phil Steele believes he’s more than capable of doing so too.

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