UK Football

Kentucky football player Xavier Peters ruled immediately eligible

Drake Jackson gives scouting report on Kentucky’s defensive line

After UK football’s first scrimmage of fall camp on Aug. 10, 2019, center Drake Jackson talks about the team’s defensive line and linebackers, including Quinton Bohanna, TJ Carter, Deandre Square, Chris Oats, Jared Casey and Xavier Peters.
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After UK football’s first scrimmage of fall camp on Aug. 10, 2019, center Drake Jackson talks about the team’s defensive line and linebackers, including Quinton Bohanna, TJ Carter, Deandre Square, Chris Oats, Jared Casey and Xavier Peters.

Xavier Peters, a former four-star recruit, will be able to play this season for the University of Kentucky.

Peters, who was considered one of the best outside linebackers in the class of 2018, announced his transfer to UK from Florida State in May and was able to practice with the team during fall camp while awaiting a decision on an appeal to the NCAA for immediate eligibility. The university was informed of the decision to grant him immediate eligibility at about 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The first game in which Peters could play is against Florida, whom the Wildcats host on Saturday.

“We’re excited to have Xavier available to play this season,” UK head coach Mark Stoops said in a news release. “I appreciate the NCAA understanding Xavier’s situation. I also want to thank our compliance office for the great job they did with the appeal and for Xavier’s patience with the process.”

Peters announced the NCAA’s decision on Twitter a few minutes before the university confirmed it.

The full text of Peters’ tweet: “I just want to thank God for getting me CLEARED! also I want to thank the @NCAA for understanding my situation about me coming closer to my son I’m going to bring the energy and the passion to this team can’t wait to be on that field Saturday night! Go Cats!! Love my fans #BBN”

Peters through part of fall camp worked with the second-string defense. Stoops, when asked if he had been ruled eligible that week, said it might have been difficult for Peters to get on the field in UK’s season opener because of his newness to the program.

“For him to be totally new in our system takes some time,” Stoops said last month. “You’ve heard me say a bunch of times about that position, it’s definitely a different position. There’s a lot of nuances to playing outside linebacker and standing up on your feet. It’ll take some time.”

The NCAA requires that undergraduates who transfer between Division I institutions complete one academic school year at their new school before they can be eligible for competition, but grants transfer waivers for “specific, extraordinary” circumstances.

Peters cited his 1-year-old son, Xavier Peters Jr., as the reason for his transfer from Florida State.

“When I came back home for Christmas break, my son was walking,” Peters said this month. “When I left, he was crawling. What made me really scared is that I would come back home and he’s gonna be riding a bike or something. ... It was killing me, man. It was killing me.”

Peters, a redshirt freshman, will have four years of eligibility at Kentucky, to whom he committed originally before ultimately flipping to the Seminoles as a prep star.

Both 247Sports and Rivals rated Peters, who played at Lakota West in West Chester, Ohio, as a four-star prospect. Rivals pegged him as the No. 6 linebacker in the class of 2018 while 247Sports rated him as the 12th best prospect at that position. He was Rivals’ No. 75 overall recruit nationally in the class. He as a high school senior recorded 78 tackles, six sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Peters played twice for Florida State, against Clemson and Wake Forest. He had a solo tackle and a pass break-up against Wake Forest.

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Josh Moore is in his first year covering the University of Kentucky football team and in his fifth year reporting for the Lexington Herald-Leader, where he’s been employed since 2009. Moore, a Martin County native, graduated from UK with a B.A. in Integrated Strategic Communication and English in 2013. He’s a huge fan of the NBA, Power Rangers and country music.
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