4-Star OLB J.J. Peterson On Meeting Nick Saban: ‘It Was Wonderful’

    Four-star outside linebacker J.J. Peterson, recounting a visit to Alabama, discussed his jitters while meeting head coach Nick Saban.

    March 30, 2017

    Four-star outside linebacker J.J. Peterson, recounting a visit to Alabama, discussed his jitters while meeting head coach Nick Saban.


    Nick Saban stands somewhere around 5-foot-6. Factor in his stature as one of the greatest coaches to ever step onto a college football field, and he might as well be a giant.

    Understandably, 4-star outside linebacker J.J. Peterson, when meeting Saban during a recent Tuscaloosa visit, was a bit nervous.

    “It was wonderful,” the Moultrie, Georgia linebacker told 247sports. “At first I had the jitters, but he told me to look him in the eye and he said he liked me.”

    That seal of approval is akin to when Johnny Carson would call a fellow comedian over to his desk after a particularly Tonight Show good set. Validation. It, for lack of a better word, legitimizes what a player believes he truly is. After all, this is a coach who’s sent, among others, linebackers Reggie Ragland, C.J. Mosley, Dont’a Hightower, Courtney Upshaw to the NFL.

    And for his part, Peterson is no slouch. This is the No. 3 linebacker in the 2018 class and No. 36 overall player, mind you. A versatile, explosive player that hits like a jackhammer, who coaches can rotate inside or out.

    At this point, Saban and Bama can recruit on name alone. And for that reason, it’s of little surprise that when pressed for top schools – of which Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Oregon and home-state Georgia all make the cut – the Crimson Tide stand taller than the rest.

    “But basically, I really like Bama. Bama, it’s just, I like their atmosphere. It’s like a home team, family. Mostly all the players buy in, I like that buy in team.”

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