As sure as the sky is blue, Michigan Football stars from this past season continue to take home postseason accolades.
The latest ones go to Jabrill Peppers and Jake Butt, who took home the Paul Hornung and John Mackey awards on Wednesday, respectively.
The Hornung award goes to the nation’s most versatile football player, while the Mackey is awarded to the country’s best tight end across the college ranks.
“Jabrill loves competition and has a relentless desire to be great,” head coach Jim Harbaugh said, per a U-M release. “We are honored that Jabrill has been selected as the Paul Hornung Award winner, an achievement fitting of his versatility on the football field. Jabrill is explosive, aggressive, intelligent, and plays the game with great enthusiasm. He has always wanted what is best for the team and has been willing to accept any role that is asked of him. We are very proud of this achievement.”
Peppers did a lot for the Wolverines this season and the U-M release sums it up pretty well.
He played an astounding 933 snaps during the 2016 campaign, logging 726 plays on defense, 53 plays on offense and 154 snaps on special teams. Peppers has seen the field at 15 different positions this fall.
Peppers has been one of the leaders on Michigan’s top-ranked defense. He is tied for second on the team with a career-best 72 tackles this season. Peppers leads the team, ranks third in the Big Ten and No. 25 in the NCAA with 16 tackles for loss (1.3 avg.). He has also contributed four sacks, one interception and forced one fumble.
One of the nation’s most dynamic returners, Peppers has 570 return yards. He has 21 punt returns for 310 yards and one touchdown; his 14.8-yard average per punt return ranks fourth nationally. In addition, Peppers has 10 kickoff returns for 260 yards (26.0 avg.).
On offense, Peppers has carried the football 27 times for 167 yards and three touchdowns and has two receptions.
“It means a lot to me to win this award,” Peppers said. “You definitely want to do as much as possible, and you want to do it as well as you can. I think there are a lot of guys who could have won this award, so it’s just a tremendous honor to be the winner and to represent the Paul Hornung Award. I’m just going to keep to trying to get better, keep working on my faults and do whatever I have to do to help my team.”
Butt hauled in 43 receptions for 508 yards and four touchdowns on the 2016 campaign and he was the team’s second leading receiver this season.
“It’s a great honor first and foremost, especially for this team,” Butt said, per the release. “One thing Coach Harbaugh says, ‘A rising tide raises all ships.’ So it’s great to win this award. I want to thank the guys in this group, this is our award really it’s not a one-man award. I really thank everyone on this team, this coaching staff, my position coach Jay Harbaugh, my family and everyone that’s helped me achieve this great award. I’m really appreciative of that.”
Peppers and Butt are the first players in program history to win these two awards.
The Wolverines hit the field one last time this season on Dec. 30 when they take on Florida State in the Orange Bowl.