Jabrill Peppers: Five-Star Athlete, Ambitious Recruiter
Life is good when you're a national recruit. USA Today is running a piece called "Breezy's World", wherein all-world cornerback Jabrill Peppers blogs about his life, football and recruiting [for Michigan]. Things have calmed down for Breezy:
By now I assume you guys know that I committed to Michigan (Go Blue!) and things have definitely changed a lot since then. Mostly it's just a lot quieter now. I still get letters from schools, but it's not like I'm getting coaches coming by my school or calling every day. That's been a big load off. It's so much more peaceful when you're committed.
Now I'm just trying to tell other recruits about why I committed and talk to them about Michigan. I feel like they're listening too. I talk to Leonard Fournette and DaShawn Hand a lot about coming to Michigan.
He's taking the right angle with five-star running back Leonard Fournette:
First, with Leonard I'm trying to stress to him the importance of us having Derrick Green. Derrick is one of the best young running backs in the country and with him taking reps along with Leonard they could be the best 1-2 punch in the country.
The best part is that it would preserve him more because he's not gonna have to take on the whole load by himself. He'll get a blow and we won't lose productivity on the field. Getting those breaks will allow him to have a longer career than most running backs.
His pitch to Da'Shawn Hand is basic, yet effective:
Then with DaShawn, I always tell him that we can make each other better. We can really feed off of each other because we're both playing on defense. We'll put the clamps on the receivers and he'll pressure the quarterback. It's the perfect compliment with both of us on the field at the same time.
I recommend reading the rest of the article, which includes and impressive note on Peppers' academics.
Michigan Leading For Two Elite SDEs
The self-proclaimed Godfather of Recruiting recently tweeted out his thoughts on the recruitment of Da'Shawn Hand and Malik McDowell:
I think Da'Shawn Hand is "@BRG_esq: @rivalsmike any big #Michigan leans for 2014, Mike?"— Mike Farrell (@rivalsmike) July 11, 2013
My hunch is #michigan there as well at this time "@ccrowder22: @rivalsmike @BRG_esq How about Malik McDowell?"— Mike Farrell (@rivalsmike) July 11, 2013
We can all take comfort in knowing that the LeBron James of recruiting gurus believes in Michigan. Have fun trying to keep Hand and McDowell out of your backfield if they do decide to go blue.
Hand plans on taking visits to Alabama and Florida before making a decision, and McDowell will trip south before deciding as well. Don't expect either of Hand or McDowell to pull the trigger any time soon.
Team Rankings and Michigan's Chances at Number One
Fans of recruiting love to dream about boasting one of the nation's top three classes, if not the top overall class. I'll come out and crush some dreams right now: Michigan isn't going to end the year with the number one composite class, and I'm extremely confident in that. Hell, the probability of Michigan finishing in the top three is moderate, but still not high by any means. Here's Michigan's current position on each of the three major recruiting services, along with their composite position:
|Scouting Service||Team Ranking||Trailing|
|247 Sports Composite||5||(1) Alabama, (2) Florida State, (3) Texas A&M, (4) Texas|
|247 Sports||9||(1) Alabama, (2) Miami, (3) Florida State, (4) Ohio State, (5) Texas, (6) Ole Miss, (7) Texas A&M, (8) Tennessee|
|Scout||7||(1) Texas A&M, (2) Alabame, (3) Texas, (4) Florida State, (5) Notre Dame, (6) Ohio State
|Rivals||10||(1) Tennessee, (2) Texas, (3) Kentucky, (4) Florida State, (5) Alabama, (6) Miami, (7) Texas A&M, (8) Notre Dame, (9) Clemson
That's a good amount of work left to do. Even if Michigan lands both Da'Shawn Hand and Malik McDowell, it will most likely only end up taking two or three other players, giving the team eighteen to nineteen commitments. LSU will most likely explode into the top five with a spur of impressive commitments, Alabama always closes strong and a host of other schools with more space available are lurking in Michigan's range. Now, it isn't impossible for Michigan to trump everyone or finish in the top three, but it will take some luck.
Here's what I think needs to happen for Michigan to stay in the elite of the elite:
- Da'Shawn Hand commits to Michigan, obviously. This gives Michigan one of the top three overall players in the country, which is a huge boost in points.
- Malik McDowell joins Hand. This is a top 50 commitment, giving Michigan another solid push.
- Michigan finishes with at least two four-star players. Montae Nicholson, John "Juju" Smith, Parrker Westphal and others are all in contention for these spots.
That's all obvious. Even if Hand, McDowell and multiple other four-star players commit to Michigan they'll probably still be on the outside of the top spot looking in. I think this class finishes in the 3-5 range, which is still national championship caliber.
New Top 247, Scout 300 Released
Speaking of recruiting rankings, both 247 Sports and Scout have updated their overall player rankings. A quick rundown:
- Ian Bunting rocketed from outside of the Top 247 to #224 overall, receiving his fourth star. He'll crack the top 200 and get his fourth star from every major site if he stays healthy. Also, apparently Rivals still thinks Bunting is soft because he tweaked a hamstring at The Opening. Le sigh.
- Consensus five-star corner Jabrill Peppers moved up in both rankings. The tweet following this section might explain how a player who didn't even attend The Opening could've moved up.
- Da'Shawn Hand dropped all the way to fifth overall in the Top 247. That's a bit surprising, especially considering that Hand dominated the best lineman in the country at The Opening. He doesn't have as high of a ceiling as someone like Cameron Robinson and didn't test as well as Lorenzo Carter, which is probably the driving factor behind the drop.
- The other Michigan targets and commitments largely moved slightly up or down, which is the norm for this sort of thing. I am a bit surprised that Michael Ferns didn't drop further than he did after struggling to stay with backs at camps.
Anyway, here's that tweet about Peppers:
Saw a lot of great DBs at #theopening but watching them made me realize that @JabrillPeppers is the best DB in the country and its not close— Marc Kohn (@KohneysKorner) July 3, 2013
Seeing Jabrill run a forty on national television would have been nice, but at least he still managed to impress without actually attending the camp. His movement into the top three of the Top 247 gives Michigan a bit of bragging rights, for now:
With Jabrill Peppers moving to No. 3, #Michigan has the highest-ranked commit in the ‘14 class http://t.co/4fl8n0tedo #Top247— JC Shurburtt (@jcshurburtt) July 11, 2013
We're number three! We're number three!
General Notes and Multimedia Items
Class of 2016 Virginia athlete Taurus Carroll will end up being a four-star prospect when his cycle comes around. Michigan was the first school to make contact with Carroll, and he's hoping to get an offer from the Wolverines.
ESPN's incredibly corny B1G Official Visit rolls on:
Tom VH might be the only reason why ESPN remains relevant in my mind. He tweeted out an interesting tidbit:
In a time of decommitments, Michigan signed 27 commits in 2013, losing only 1 along the way, holding on to them for an avg. of 9 months— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) July 11, 2013
And people wonder why Brady Hoke implements a no-visit policy.
Class of 2015 four-star receiver Christian Kirk could make a stop at Michigan, among other Midwest powers:
Saguaro 2015 WR/CB Christian Kirk may take a Midwest swing this month through Ohio State, Notre Dame and Michigan.— Richard Obert (@azc_obert) July 9, 2013
Kirk is the compact slot type.
Wolverine 247 breaks down Michigan's top ten remaining targets. The top two names look familiar:
1. Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, VA/ Woodbridge)
The nations top overall prospect in 2014, Hand said he plans to decide before the holidays in December. Michigan, Alabama, and Florida make up his top three with LSU and USC still in the picture. Hand's crystal ball says Michigan has a 56% chance to land him.
2. Malik McDowell (Detroit, MI/ Loyola)
McDowell has been awfully quiet in terms of his recruitment lately. Michigan certainly appears to be the frontrunner with Michigan State also in the mix. McDowell's crystal ball reads Michigan 100%.
How Montae Nicholson sits all the way at number nine is beyond me. He's far more important than Mixon and Jackson and is definitely superior to Westphal.
Make sure to check out our latest player profiles on five-star John "Juju" Smith, four-star Brian Cole and four-star David Dowell. The newest profiles will go deep into every player's game, breaking down and grading everything from their frame to their on-field awareness. Also, our DGDestroys has been killing it with his reviews of other B1G teams' recruiting efforts.
Last but definitely not least, add Marshon Lattimore, Erick Smith and Jerome Baker as possible Big House BBQ visitors($). The BBQ will take place on July 28th, per Steve Lorenz.