Today: Julian Peterson

Sport: Football

College: Michigan State University

Position: Linebacker

Height, weight: 6 feet 4, 237 pounds.

Year: Senior

High School: Crossland (Class of 1996)

This season: Peterson, who switched to linebacker from defensive end this season, was a preseason second-team all-Big Ten Conference pick by The Sporting News. He is second on the team with 17 tackles, including a team-high seven for losses, as the Spartans have started 2-0. He has two sacks and has forced a fumble. The Spartans play at Notre Dame on Saturday.

Last season: Peterson was named honorable mention all-Big Ten. A pass-rushing specialist, he started three games at defensive end and finished with a team-high 18 tackles for loss (tying the school record) and 10 sacks. Peterson was third among the Spartans' defensive linemen with 58 tackles.

Peterson also caused four fumbles and scored two touchdowns, returning a fumble 40 yards for a score against Penn State and taking an interception back 23 yards against Notre Dame. In the Notre Dame game, he had a school-record seven tackles for loss.

Career: As a senior at Crossland, Peterson earned first-team All-Met honors. As a tight end, he caught 24 passes for 557 yards and eight touchdowns. As a defensive end, he had 16 sacks and blocked six punts. He was named the most valuable player for the Maryland team in Chesapeake Classic all-star game.

Before attending Michigan State, Peterson went to Valley Forge Military Junior College in Wayne, Pa., for two seasons. He was named a first-team National Junior College Athletic Association all-American, with 40 sacks in two seasons.

Crossland Coach Alan Arrington, who was working in the county government when Peterson was at Crossland, remembers: "He was very impressive. He made plays and he was aggressive. He was just a kid who made plays. I knew he had the potential to go far with his size and athletic ability.

"Then I was really convinced when I saw him work out [over the summer] and his work ethic. He worked hard to get himself prepared. It was definitely good to have him come through [the weight room] so some of my younger guys could see him work out."

CAPTION: Julian Peterson (98), a first-team All-Met at Crossland after finishing his senior year with 16 sacks and six blocked punts, is Michigan State's top pass rusher. He had 10 sacks for the Spartans last season, two so far this year.