Peters Finally Gets Healthy

It's been one injury after another for Arkansas middle linebacker Otha Peters, but he is finally healthy and expects to flourish this season on the field because of that.

For the first time in his Razorback career, Arkansas junior-to-be linebacker Otha Peters in healthy.

To celebrate that, Peters (6-2, 226) has changed his number from No. 22 to No. 5 and is hoping to experience a rebirth when it comes to his career.

"I feel great," Peters said. "Last season was a burden for me, being injured all year and I look forward to having my first season of being injury free.

"That's why I changed my number to 22," Peters said. "I am trying to start a new thing for myself this season. Everything is going well right now."

Peters played in 10 games as a true freshman and started the last three games of Arkansas' 2012 season after recovering from an injury.

He had 32 tackles and was named to the SEC All-Freshman team.

But his 2013 season was a lost one due in part to a broken arm in preseason practice and a groin injury at the end.

He played in just 5 games and had just nine tackles.

Now that he is healthy, Razorback linebacker coach Randy Shannon believes he will flourish.

"I think it is awesome," Shannon said. "He's been through a couple of injuries back-to-back the last two years. Right now he is feeling better than he ever has and we are excited about that."

Peters and sophomore-to-be Brooks Ellis (6-3, 240) are manning middle linebacker right now.

"I'm really excited about that," Peters said. "Middle is what I have been playing my whole life while playing ball. In this defense, the middle linebacker gets to make plays and gets to be the general out there. I feel like that fits me perfect."

As for changing to number 2, Peters thinks 5 may have had a curse on it.

"My father was number 22 in high school," Peters said. "I feel like 22 is a cool number and 5 – I just felt like that was kind of curse on me."

Braylon Mitchell (6-3, 231) and Daunte Carr (6-3, 216) are working at the Sam linebacker while Martrell Spaight (6-0, 228) and Andrew Brignoni (6-1, 206) are slotted as Sam linebackers right now.

"They are doing a lot better," Shannon said. "The terminology changed, some things that we do changed and it has helped them out a lot. Those guys are really buying into it more and they really understand now what I am trying to get of them as a football coach and understand what it takes.

"They are a year older now and we have been together for a year now and that's a big deal," Shannon said. "We were all free agents last year, trying to figure out each other, what we could get done, what my expectations were, their expectations were. But now we are all on the same page and understanding what we are trying to get done and what we need to get done."

Brignoni has moved up from safety.

"With him being a safety last year and now at linebacker, he is doing some good things and then he will have a little lapse," Shannon said. "For the first day in pads, he did a lot of good things, but he did do a couple of things that were not normal because he has been at safety and he also is just a freshman."

Otha Peters

Otha Peters looks to make a play as a freshman in 2012 at Mississippi State.

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