Tennessee’s highest rated commitment of the 2018 class is officially a part of the roster. JJ Peterson took part in practice yesterday for the first time, getting his feet wet and taking on what is sure to be a steep learning curve. Peterson was thought of as a likely immediate difference maker for the Vols, but now that’s unrealistic.
Right now Jeremy Pruitt just wants to get him accustomed to college life and teach him the fundamentals.
“Well for one, it’s going to be the first time that he’s attended a college class,” Pruitt said on Monday. “I think it’s important for freshmen to get here during the summer so they can kind of get acclimated to the routine. So there will be lots of adjustments for him.”
Adjusting to college life is one thing, getting back into football shape and learning a new playbook while making that adjustment is another. The former top-50 prospect has a lot going on and it’s probably not fair to expect much from him right off the bat.
“Obviously he missed all of the summer conditioning and fall camp, so I wouldn’t put unrealistic expectations on him,” Pruitt warned. “You know, we’ll put him out there and start trying to teach him really the fundamentals of things that we are trying to get done. We’ll see where it goes from there.”
Peterson is a prime candidate that could take advantage of the NCAA’s new redshirt rule, which allows players to compete in up to four games without sacrificing a season of eligibility. It would makes sense to keep Peterson under wraps, then perhaps ease him in later in the season against Charlotte. We’ll see if that’s the route the staff takes.
But first and foremost, let’s hope 100 percent of the focus is put on getting Peterson settled in and ready for college life. It’s undoubtedly been a stressful summer for him, so taking care of the non-football aspects right now is probably more important than rushing him into the playbook.