Let's all take a moment and thank the football gods that Jabrill Peppers, arguably the most talented recruit in the history of Michigan's football program, has signed on the dotted line. We sacrifice the virgin Tim Tebow as a gift because no one cares about his religious story and who the hell signs with T-Mobile.
Recruitment In Summary
Peppers grew up a fan of the Wolverines and was quick to admit it to reporters very early on in his recruitment. It was apparent that he had NFL potential as early as his sophomore year in high school and Michigan was one of countless schools to take notice.
Once Jabrill's recruitment picked up, it looked as if Stanford had separated itself from the pack. Peppers wanted a school that offered both a family atmosphere and elite academics, which is why the Cardinal looked to be in great shape. But after taking visits to schools across the nation it become apparent that Michigan was the team to beat, and not the rising west coast power. Weeks went by and most national analysts were trending toward one opinion: Michigan was going to land Jabrill Peppers. They were right:
Unfortunately for Michigan fans, the drama didn't end there. The Wolverines struggled on the field in 2013, leading to many a false rumor about the firing of Brady Hoke, which in turn led to Peppers being fed a bunch of trash by opposing coaches. Alabama, Penn State, UCLA and others all tried to get into the head of the five-star athlete, who at one point said he would indeed take visits elsewhere; Brad Hoke's no-visit policy made us all nervous that Peppers might have to decommit to take said visits.
Jabrill ended up taking an official visit to Michigan before seeing any of the other programs mentioned above. He and his mother loved the trip so much that he decided to end his recruitment for good and remain solid to the Wolverines.
Ratings and Attributes
Star Rating: Peppers is a five-star prospect across the board and ranks third overall in his class. He's the top overall cornerback in his class, although his abilities on offense forced some to rank him as the top overall athlete.
Strengths: Name it and Peppers almost certainly has it. At 6'1" and 210 pounds, he is muscular enough to draw comparisons to both Adrian and Patrick Peterson; he is far more powerful than the average running back or cornerback in college today. He shows elite burst and fluid hips in coverage and can make up ground in a hurry if he's behind a receiver or looking to close in zone coverage, which is dangerous when coupled with his field awareness and ball skills. He's a determined and angry tackler on defense and refuses to go down on offense, breaking the tackle of damn near every defender one team had to offer in this famous scrimmage play. He's highly intelligent and gifted in the world of music.
Weaknesses: Peppers needs more time to grow as a technician at the cornerback position; it's only a matter of time before he masters the position and dominates receivers, but it will take time. His man coverage is stronger than his zone coverage as of right now, but this again goes back to his lack of experience at corner. He can also become a more sound tackler. Let's not nitpick a prototype corner prospect.
Years Until He Sees the Field: 0
This is a no-brainer. Peppers is either going to find time at the nickel position early on and eventually steal a starting spot from one of Blake Countess or Raymon Taylor by the end of the 2014 season, or he's going to start on day one. He will be Michigan's most electric player the moment he steps onto the practice field, which means that he'll probably field kickoffs, punts and receive designed snaps on offense. He has the talent to take receivers out of the game and leave for the League early after three seasons.