#98 Tabarious Peterson
Hometown: Tucker, GA
Thoughts: If someone asked you to draw, or sketch, what you envisioned the perfect linebacker to look like…you should probably have some concerns, because that is a pretty creepy and somewhat random request. But, in this hypothetical, many of you would likely wind up drawing something very similar to Tabarious Peterson. At 6-3 and 250lb, one year removed from high school, Peterson certainly fits the mold of a guy who could play the position well for a long time, and the coaches have been high on him since he walked on campus last year as a 3 star OLB/DE out of Georgia. Last season Coach Grantham really emphasized Peterson’s “position flexibility”, meaning he could line him up as an outside linebacker or put his hand in the dirt up front. In fact, most of this past Spring that’s exactly were Peterson was lined up (DE), which is likely due to the personnel currently at OLB. That flexibility should translate well to Sirmon’s philosophy, which also calls for the OLB to play on the line at times (see: Hearns, James).
Peterson has got the athleticism to compete for sure. In the Spring drills he had the longest broad jump (10’0”) and the fastest 40 time (4.59s) of the entire ‘Power’ group. Both of those numbers jump off the page for a player of his size and translate well to a player being used on the outside. I think last season Peterson was mostly a victim of the depth ahead of him and the learning curve for true freshman (I’m sure the complex calls from Grantham didn’t make it any easier).
Even though I went full “Jack and Rose art project” above referencing Peterson at linebacker, if you take a peek at some projected starting lineups after spring ball wrapped up I think most would assume Peterson is easily a second team player…on the defensive line, and I agree with the coaches making the move. My take is he has a better shot at getting run in 2017 and beyond at defensive end then at linebacker. With Chris Williams and Drew Bailey (projected starters at DE) both being Seniors, the space will be up for grabs moving forward and Tabarious has shown that with any challenge he can jump further (10’0”) and run faster (4.59s) than those around him in order to get there. He’s gonna be a good one.
Really looking forward to see how they weave Peterson into the rotation this year and what opportunities he may get. I got a sneaky suspicion that we may be talking about just how important Peterson is gonna be to the 2018 squad here in a few months.
Speaking of 2018….’The Cardinal Countdown’ for 2018 starts in just 362 days! Bring on Bama!