He plays like Ted Roof and sounds like Barry White.
Georgia State’s Joseph Peterson leaves an impression on and off the field.
Peterson, a true freshman from Dothan, Ala., will start for the Panthers at inside linebacker in Thursday’s season-opener against South Carolina State at the Georgia Dome.
He hammered his way into the starting lineup, beating upperclassman Robert Ferguson for the spot, by arriving in August with an intensity and instincts that coach Bill Curry said can’t be taught.
The last player to make such a favorable quick impression on Curry was Roof, whom Curry coached at Georgia Tech in early 1980s.
“I don’t want to say he came in took over but it was clear that he was going to be a factor,” Curry said of Roof. “He made a huge difference in the program. I haven’t seen anything to indicate that Joe is less likely to do that than Ted did.”
Roof became an All-American linebacker at Tech, before becoming a coach. He is now the defensive coordinator at Penn State.
With a voice as deep as rumbling thunder, Peterson said he just tries to play fast and wants his teammates to follow.
“I just play on a different speed,” he said. “I play with passion. I’m trying to get a lot of the guys to play with me like that, more passion, running to the ball. We will have a great defense this year. We are trying to achieve greatness.”
It may seem odd for a true freshman to talk about being a leader.
But Curry said southern Alabama, where Dothan is located, may be one of the most passionate football areas in the country. If players don’t play hard, and they don’t play fast, they don’t play.
At 220 pounds, Peterson already has the size to play inside. He said he’s still learning the playbook but he’s trying to lead by example and by encouraging his teammates, using his distinctive voice as often as he can.
Just don’t ask him to sing like White.
“I’m not a singer,” he said, laughing.
– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu
Georgia State has yet to hear from the NCAA regarding the eligibility of defensive linemen Theo Agnew and Nermin Delic. The NCAA has ruled on Bell. There is some paperwork that must be completed, but it appears that Bell will be eligible.
The coaching staff is cutting back Agnew’s reps with the first team, in case the NCAA rules that he must sit out this year. Delic, who transferred from Kentucky, hasn’t had many chances to work the first team because of various injuries. Bell, who transferred from Ohio, is the third-string quarterback. Agnew transferred from Massachusetts.
Delic and Bell both enrolled during summer school, while Agnew enrolled in August. However, Delic’s eligibility application wasn’t submitted at the same time as Bell’s because some additional documentation was needed. It was submitted before Agnew’s, though.
That’s a long way of saying to not expect a decision on Delic or Agnew in the next few days, which means they may miss the season opener. I wouldn’t say it’s a certainty, but it’s probable.
The decision is complicated because of Georgia State’s ascension to the FBS level. Players that transfer from one FBS school (like each of these three players) to another must sit out a year.
Am trying to confirm this, but I believe that among the things the NCAA must look out is when Georgia State began talking to the players, and when did the players decide to transfer in relation to when Georgia State decided it was going to join the Sun Belt. Georgia State’s conversations with Bell and Agnew began last year, before the Sun Belt conversations began in earnest (which may help Agnew). I’m not sure about Delic, but am going to try to find out.