Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt confirmed after practice on Wednesday that J.J. Peterson is not currently with the football team. Pruitt elaborated that Peterson has not been with the team for a couple of weeks, and that the two discussed taking some time away from the team.
Jeremy Pruitt said linebacker J.J. Peterson, UT's highest-rated recruit in Pruitt's rushed 2018 class, is taking a few weeks away from the team.— David Ubben (@davidubben) October 14, 2020
"He's not been with us for a couple weeks," Pruitt said.
While Pruitt did mention a very rough time frame for a potential return, it’s never a great sign when a player completely leaves the team for more than a few days. Typically, that means they are seriously reconsidering their spot in the program, and whether or not they want to remain at the school.
The reason is still unclear. Peterson had yet to make an appearance in-game for the Volunteers this season. Rumors swirled about whether or not he was even available to play, and this seemingly answers any questions remaining. The Volunteers seem set in their rotation of linebackers.
Peterson was a highly ranked recruit coming out of Moultrie, Georgia in the 2018 recruiting class. In fact, he was the crown jewel of the class, sporting a No. 48 overall ranking. Expectations were high for Peterson coming into his Tennessee career, and it has never materialized. Now, it looks more and more likely that it never will.