ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Cornerback Jabrill Peppers made a few big plays for Team Nitro, but he and the rest of his future Wolverines - five of them in all - couldn't overcome a strong effort from Team Highlight in the 2014 Under Armour All-America Game, falling 31-21.
Peppers was joined by quarterback Wilton Speight, offensive lineman Juwann Bushell-Beatty, and defensive tackle Bryan Mone on the active roster for Nitro, with linebackers Michael Ferns and Jared Wangler missing the contest due to injury. Peppers was a star of the game for his team, returning two kicks for 65 yards, making three total tackles, and even completing a pass (albeit for a two-yard loss) out of the wildcat formation. He also blocked a field goal to close the first half - returned for a touchdown - but thanks to an all-star game rule, the block was deemd illegal.
Speight started the game for Nitro, completing two of six passes for 63 with one interception. He also ran three times for eight yards. Bushell-Beatty rotated in at left tackle for an offensive line that paved the way to a 31-carry, 186-yard performance on the ground, and Mone started at defensive tackle, making two stops on the day.
"I felt like I did better in defeating the double-team and getting pressure," Mone said. "I need to work on my pass rush."
The offensive star of the game was Highlight quarterback Sean White, who completed 10-12 passes for 156 yards and two scores. Speight completed all week with the quarterbacks not only on his own team, but also with Highlight's group, and sees the entire program as a learning experience he can bring with him to Ann Arbor.
Along with fellow Nitro members Mone and Ferns, he'll have the chance to use what he learned as an official member of the Wolverines in just a couple days' time.
"It was O.K.; I didn't necessarily make as many plays as I wanted to," Speight said. "There were a couple plays that I wanted to have back. I'm just fired up that I get to go up to Michigan in three days and show those guys what I can do."