In the weeks leading up to national signing day, we'll take a look at each one of Michigan's commits.
For previous editions of Recruiting Recap, follow the links: Wilton Speight, Drake Harris, Freddy Canteen., Maurice Ways, Ian Bunting, Juwan Bushell-Beatty, Mason Cole, Michael Ferns, Chase Winovich, Noah Furbush, Jared Wangler, Brandon Watson.
Player: Jabrill Peppers, cornerback
Location: Paramus (N.J.) Catholic
Rankings: Five-star prospect, ranked the No. 3 overall player in the country, the No. 1 cornerback in the class and the No. 1 player in the state of New Jersey, according to Rivals.com.
Committed: May 26, 2013.
Other Notable Offers: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers, South Carolina, Stanford, Syracuse, Tennessee, UCLA, USC, West Virginia.
The Latest News On Peppers:
"Peppers was already one of the best players in the country - behind only Woodbridge (Va.) defensive end Da'Shawn Hand - and didn't have a whole lot of room to move up, though there was a long way to fall if he didn't perform as expected. Fortunately for Michigan fans, Peppers exceeded expectations.
"While he's not his listed 6-1 (more like a shade under 6-0), Peppers' weight won't be in question. He is already built like an NFL defensive back, and hits with the force you'd expect. Throughout the week in practice, he could barely prevent himself from laying a big hit in the run game or against a wide receiver while playing coverage.
"Peppers was also every bit the explosive athlete we expected him to be. Whether in special teams, on defense, or even with the ball in his hands out of the wildcat, he showed the special physical abilities that saw him ranked so highly in the first place. He had several one-on-one battles with Florida commit Ermon Lane and five-star wideout Malachi Dupre, winning at least his share of each.
"Unfortunately for Peppers, the game itself wasn't his best opportunity to show what he's capable of. All-Star game rules - no press coverage on defense, and limited kick-blocking techniques allowed - didn't play to his strengths, and he did give up some passes. The deep out was particularly tough, and although he tackled solidly on most of the opportunities, he missed a tackle on Florida State commit Travis Rudolph - his first missed tackle of the week - so he didn't show why he impressed.
"If not for a great week out of some of the country's other players - including Hand, but also California defensive back Adoree' Jackson and Virginia safety Quin Blanding - it would be likely he moves up to the top player in the nation. Despite the strong weeks out of those other players, he still has a chance."
Athletic Achievement Award: Jabrill Peppers, Paramus (N.J.) Catholic
"Who's showed off the best athleticism of anyone else? That's who wins this award and the winner is Peppers, who showed off his ability in both practice and in the game at cornerback, wildcat quarterback and as a return man. Peppers can do it all and while the results in the game weren't what he would have liked aside from a big return, he was clearly the dynamic athlete I expected to see this week."
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Analysis from TheWolverine.com's Tim Sullivan:
Strengths: "Is there anything Peppers can't do? We haven't seen it yet. He's the most athletic player Michigan has signed in years, and he also has plus-size for a cornerback at 6-1, 210 pounds. He can make plays on defense or with the ball in his hands - and should do both in Ann Arbor."
Weaknesses: "Peppers really doesn't have many weaknesses - though he's probably not every bit of his listed height. The pressure on him to live up to expectations could be the biggest question mark of his game. If he can focus on the field, rather than anyone else's standards, he should star."
What To Expect From Peppers In 2014: It will be interesting to see where, exactly, Peppers fits onto the field in 2014. He is good enough to make his way on the field immediately - but if that is the case, he is going to be taking playing time away from others.
Blake Countess will be a redshirt junior and Raymon Taylor will be a senior, and Channing Stribling, Jourdan Lewis and Delonte Hollowell all saw time as the No. 3 cornerback, and all three made strides throughout the 2013 season.
Peppers could certainly make his impact at cornerback. He could probably take over the nickel back spot from Countess. He could even play safety, if that was needed of him.
It's not exactly clear where he'll be - but he will be on the field somewhere.
What To Expect From Peppers In His Career: There has been plenty written about Peppers over the last year. You know how high the expectations are. He's going to be a highly productive defensive back - who may see some extra time as a playmaker on offense in certain spots.