Academy Athletes: Cody Peterson

Being one of the nerve centers of a defensive unit is a supremely demanding role. Navy linebacker Cody Peterson hopes that his instincts and skills will enable him to flourish this upcoming season.

Despite only one varsity letter to date in his Navy football career, Cody Peterson showed enough skill and leadership in his junior season that he was named one of two captains for the 2013 football team. Peterson shares that honor with wide receiver Matt Aiken. He has shown his unselfishness in his time at Navy by converting positions on multiple occasions to fill the team's foremost needs. This fall he will play inside linebacker after a 2012 season when he was sixth on the team with 67 tackles, including two for losses.

Peterson will carry a heavy load this season; the Midshipmen are in the midst of some significant personnel turnover. Phil Steele lists 11 starters that will need to be replaced, including five on defense. The top four tacklers from last year have all moved on, leaving a lot of production unaccounted for when the season kicks off in September. Navy will look to tighten up its run defense in 2013 after finishing the season ranked 87th nationally a season ago. Due to the size disadvantage on the line - something the Midshipmen often face – this is where Peterson and the rest of the linebacker corps could really make their mark. Having Buddy Green as a defensive coordinator certainly doesn't hurt, but it will be up to Peterson and his teammates to execute Green's scheme each Saturday.

Peterson really came on strong last year, and it's a credit to his hard work that he went from a player who barely played two seasons ago to a key contributor last season. Now, he is taking his progression one step further as a captain of the squad. While the NFL may not be in his future, Peterson has plenty to play for in 2013 when he puts on the Navy football jersey. Not only will Navy try to return to its tenth bowl game in 11 years, but as the current Commander-In-Chief's Trophy champions, the Midshipmen will be looking to defend their title among the service academies. Peterson will be at the heart of that effort in Annapolis. Top Stories