Peake, a 6-foot-2, 220 pound defensive back from Ohio, came to Louisville with impressive credentials. He turned down Wisconsin, West Virginia, Iowa and Michigan State for the opportunity to play right away for a Top 10 ranked program.
"I've been here for two months trying to learn the plays," Peake told InsideTheVille.com. "I left school early so I could get here and get to know the plays and the players more. Since camp started I've just been trying to work hard and get a role on the team so I can play this year."
Peake, like typical high school graduates, didn't get to enjoy a summer vacation before heading off to college. Instead, he basically picked up his high school diploma and headed for Louisville, where he got a head start in order to compete for playing time this season as a true freshman.
"I left school the next day after graduation," Peake said. "I didn't take a summer break because I came here and started working. I worked out, lifted weights and just started getting prepared for camp."
The biggest adjustment for Peake from high school to college?
"I guess the speed of the game and also knowing different plays and (knowing) the different in's and out's of the defense," Peake said. "I try to study film and my defensive plays more so I can recognize plays so I can get them quicker and run to the ball more."
Peake studied film on his own this summer, watching former Louisville stars like Kerry Rhodes patrol the defensive secondary and trying to learn as much as he could from the current New York Jets safety. "I just watched him because he's in the NFL right now and I wanted to see how he performed when he was here," Peake said. "I learned how hard he ran to the ball."
Peake, who is competing for playing time at free safety, seems to have made excellent progress since preseason camp started earlier this month.
"When camp started I didn't know the plays too well and coaches just kept giving me the playbook and had me looking at plays and right now I know a lot more plays," Peake said. "I know how the defense is supposed to be run and I think I'm doing good right now."
What's it take to play free safety, C.J.?
"You have to know all the calls on defense and you need to be able to read the quarterback," Peake said. "Right now I'd give myself an average grade. It's different from high school, but I'm still working."
Peake, who could project as a linebacker in the future because of his size, speed and frame, says he's ready to take the field August 31 against Murray State in the Cardinals season-opener.
"I can't wait for the first game," Peake said. "I want to see what a college football game is like. After the first hit, I'll be ready to play."