|Paramus (NJ) Catholic cornerback Jabrill Peppers|
Paramus (NJ) Catholic cornerback Jabrill Peppers committed to Michigan today. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Alabama, Florida, Notre Dame, Ohio State, USC, and numerous others.
I posted a scouting report on Peppers last Thursday, so you can go there to find a good deal of relevant analysis. As a junior in 2012, Peppers had 172 carries for 1,552 yards (9.0 yards/carry) and 18 touchdowns; he also caught 20 passes for 337 yards (16.9 yards/catch). And on defense, he had 77 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 3 interceptions.
You can see from the scouting report that I really like Peppers’s game. He is one of the top few prospects in the country – if not the absolute best – and looks to me like the top cornerback in the nation. He plays safety for the Paladins, so transitioning to college cornerback might take a little work. But the physical talent and coordination are sufficient for bumping to corner. Lots of high schools will put their best player at safety so he can affect the whole field, rather than putting him on one side and letting the opponent run or throw away from him.
As for his role at Michigan, he will presumably arrive in 2014 when starting corners Raymon Taylor and Blake Countess are a senior and a redshirt junior, respectively; the projected free safety will be junior returning starter Jarrod Wilson. A spot should be open at strong safety, which is where current freshman Dymonte Thomas projects to play once Thomas Gordon graduates after the 2013 season. So once Thomas bumps from his current spot at nickel corner to strong safety, that could open the door for Peppers to start as a freshman and then move into a starting cornerback position as a sophomore in 2015.
As evidenced by his highlights and those statistics above, Peppers could make an impact in numerous ways. The coaches have told him that they might use him in some packages on offense (presumably at wide receiver), and he could also help the team as a punt/kickoff returner. When talking about Peppers, comparisons to Charles Woodson – Michigan’s cornerback/receiver/returner who won the 1997 Heisman – abound.
Peppers is the tenth member of the 2014 class, which is expected to be no larger than twenty players strong. He is also the first defensive back of a projected three; Michigan probably wants one more cornerback and a safety. Michigan has recruited New Jersey heavily in recent years, but results have been mixed in the Garden State. Peppers’s teammate Juwann Bushell-Beatty is an offensive tackle who committed to Michigan a few weeks ago, but before that the last few players from that state were linebacker J.B. Fitzgerald, safety/linebacker Brandon Smith, and defensive end Anthony Lalota; Fitzgerald lasted all four years but was never more than a backup, and Smith (Temple) and Lalota (Rutgers) transferred before quitting football altogether.
This is the first time I’ve given a . . .
TTB Rating: 100 (ratings explanation)
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