Its still unknown as to whether Michigans’ all-around player Jabrill Peppers will return for one more season. But if he wants to be the best, he will have to do what is necessary.
Over the course of the season, Peppers has managed to play 933 snaps at 15 different positions. Yes, I said 15. That is a ridiculous amount, but yet it’s really not surprising to me anymore. There is a reason as to why he won the Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most versatile player. He left everything on the field. on every play, and damn near was always making some kind of impact whether it was on offense, defense or even special teams. That is exactly what the team needed from him and he did it without question.
“Jabrill Peppers is a throwback to the time I played,” Hornung said in a statement. “He’s fearless on the field and uses his tremendous athletic skills and determination to play any position to help Michigan win football games. Jabrill is a fantastic addition to our list of Paul Hornung Award winners.”
Nothing is certain as to what Peppers may do. But I keep reiterating it to everyone, just like the recruiting season has been thus far, don’t be surprised. After attending the Heisman Trophy Ceremony earlier this month, Peppers might have dropped a slight clue on what we can possibly expect to hear in the near future.
"It was a tremendous experience. Hopefully I can do it again."
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) December 11, 2016
So what the hell does it that mean if Peppers decides to return? It means that there could be a forced to be reckoned with in 2017.
Improve his football knowledge
Its no secret that Peppers knows how to play defense. However, over the course of the season he was playing predominantly more at the line of scrimmage as a hybrid linebacker/safety and not so much at the safety for what he is being scouted for in the NFL. Scouts absolutely love seeing him make plays like these and attacking the ball and so do we, but they want to see him improve his pass coverage. I’m not a defensive coordinator, but with Dymonte Thomas leaving and a possible return of Peppers, it could open a chance with him moving to strong safety next season where he could make a huge difference. Coming back to improve his skill set wouldnt be the worse idea.
Draft stock is falling
As the regular season came to a finish, the big plays started to slow down and the hot pepper started to cool off and so did his rising stock for the NFL draft. Not because he wasn’t filling the stat lines but simply because the games got tougher and it got harder to make plays every time he was at a different position. No one isnt a bigger critic than Peppers is of himself and he knows that he didn’t finish as strong as he probably could have. There’s a chance to change that and solidify a primarily role on defense.
Peppers had made it known to everyone that he plans to graduate and win a national title. At least those were his goals when he decided to come to Michigan and they’re certainly not far fetched from happening. Though Michigan is losing a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, due to graduates and departures to the NFL, they have depth and their returning some core players. That’s not even mentioning the noise their making on the recruiting scene. the It might be too early to tell, but team 138 just might be that team to do it all and win a national title. Peppers has two more years of eligibility left and should be able to graduate next year. Yes, many players have gone pro and then decided to finish out their degree. But he’s a type person that wants to do everything the right way the first time and I can imagine him getting it done.
So much can happen in such a little time. But there is a decision to be made and is expected to be made very soon. Hopefully, we get another chance to see him not make a tackle for a loss or even a punt return for a touchdown. Hell, even see him get down like James Brown.
On Thursday while practicing a drill on special teams, Peppers was hobbled and walking around with a hamstring pull. Despite the injury, he still participated in the pre-game warm ups and tried to give it a go and attempt to manage the pain. But it was just too much to handle.
After a 1-point lost to the Seminoles, we seen a emotional Peppers that we haven’t seen before.
“It was a joint decision,” he said. “The trainers watched me warm up. I knew I wasn’t myself, I knew I wasn’t going to be myself. If the game was Saturday, I play in this game 100%. I felt as though I just needed that extra day. When you tweak something like a hamstring the day before the game, it”s kind of tough to recover from.”
After missing the game, many had assumed that he was just sitting out just to protect his draft stock, but the tears running down his face said otherwise. Peppers said he that he taken an insurance policy after his freshman year was cut short.
“I couldn’t care less about what people think why I didn’t play. The fact that I couldn’t be out there with my brothers, I think that hurt more than the loss. … My future didn’t play any role in this.”
Peppers added that he didn’t finish the year like he wanted or even had envisioned.
“Got some decisions to make, still feel like I didn’t do what I set out to do, as an individual and as a team,” he said. “We didn’t make the playoffs, didn’t make the Rose Bowl. And to come here and lose the Orange Bowl just sucked. Because we worked too hard for it.”
It’s hard to imagine Peppers walking away after seeing him like this. If he does though, the type of emotion that he brings to the locker room and on the field will be greatly missed.