When outside linebackers coach Roy Manning was hired a year ago, one of his top objectives was to serve as Jabrill Peppers' primary recruiter. On Wednesday, Manning relished when the five-star recruit's letter of intent arrived.
"We're extremely excited to have an awesome addition to the team," Manning told MGoBlueTV. "Jabrill is a great talent and everyone knows that but he's an even better person and student. A guy that you know is going to come in and make an impact."
Michigan was one of close to 50 schools that offered Peppers a scholarship and the competition to land the 6-2, 210-pound defensive back was fierce, but U-M sold what it feels is its best asset - its relationships.
"When you get to this stage of football, there are going to be so many things that get thrown at you as a kid that you have to sort through and I think building that relationship and getting close to your coaches is a huge part of that," Manning said.
"One of the biggest things is you have to be yourself and allow the recruits to be comfortable with you. They're going to have every school in the country coming after them when you're that caliber of a player so you have to separate yourself [as a school] and our coaches did a great job. Even part of me being hired here and taking over that area was to recruit this kid. So I am excited to see this day come."
While Peppers is expected to compete immediately for a job at either cornerback or safety, he could also be used in a variety of other roles Manning noted.
"Jabrill is just excited about the opportunity. He wants to get here and get going, and help this team anyway he can, whether that's punt returning, kick returning, maybe getting some touches [offensively], he's all for it, and we're all for it because when you have a player of that caliber you want to use him the best you can," he said.
"Look at his track record and what he has done on the field. He breaks tackles, his elusiveness, he has breakaway speed - Olympic speed even - and then defensively, he's all over the place. Wherever the ball is, he's there, making a play, getting a strip, making an interception. It's hard not to get excited with him."