Rewind to about a month ago, and the biggest topic of conversation among Vol fans aside from the beginning of the 2018 season was whether or not J.J. Peterson, the Vols’ highest-rated signee in their 2018 class, was going to make it onto the roster. He finally got cleared, and the four-star linebacker joined the team after their season-opening game against West Virginia.
Since joining the team almost a month ago, Peterson has been acclimating himself not only to life on the football field as a college athlete, but also life as a college student. Vol fans have been asking for weeks when the talented freshman would see the field and make his debut as a Vol.
Well, Peterson may have just dropped a huge hint on social media about when that debut may happen.
Shortly before the Vols took on No. 2 Georgia on the road, Peterson posted a photo to his story on Snapchat of a Tennessee football schedule. That schedule had four dates circled on it, and the first game that was circled was Tennessee’s next home game: their match-up with No. 1 Alabama on October 20th.
Peterson also circled games against South Carolina, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt. Here’s a look at that photo:
Under the new redshirt rules passed by the NCAA prior to the start of this season, a player can play in as many as four games and still retain that year of eligibility. So if Peterson’s post is to be believed, it looks like he’s hoping he’ll get to see action in those four SEC games during his freshman season.
The 6-foot-2, 231-pound linebacker has only been on campus for about 30 days as of the writing of this article, and he missed out on all of Tennessee’s strength and conditioning program over the summer and all of fall camp. Pruitt said last week that he’s been pleased with the progress Peterson has shown while practicing with the scout team.
But Pruitt also said that the freshman is still a lot further off from the Vols’ other first-year players in terms of development because of the time he missed while he was working on getting eligible.
“For him, the reality of it is that by the time we get to the end of the season, he’ll be about where he’d have been at the end of fall camp,” Pruitt said during a press conference last week.
Coming out of high school, Peterson was a four-star outside linebacker out of Moultrie, Georgia. According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Peterson was the No. 48 overall player and No. 3 outside linebacker in the 2019 class. As a senior for Colquitt County High School, Peterson totaled 110 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, five sacks, a forced fumble, and three fumble recoveries.