2017 Michigan Football Signing Day– The Recruits Stole the Show

The signing day festivities may have been missing those familiar faces of Derek Jeter and Tom Brady, due to his preparation for his 5th Super Bowl victory, but the amount of future star power that was there in attendance had the second annual Signing of the Stars event looking more star-studded than what most are expressing.

Last years event consisted of an all-around celebrity list including Ric Flair, Jim Leyland and even the popular Rap group, Migos. The university went all out for its first annual event. Jim Harbaugh wanted to do something different and amazing that no one was doing and simply just wow the new recruits, in other words to have celebration for their new future student athletes on furthering their education.

This years’ Signing of the Stars event was very much different from the previous. Harbaugh wanted to get away from those big name celebrities and put the spotlight truly on recruits and bring the community of the university together. After he was announced on to the stage by the Sklar brothers, he didn’t hold back about what could be his favorite word in the dictionary, family.

 “Probably no better word in the English language.. to me, than family. ‘Cause we are tied at the hip, we are tied at the hip here at the University of Michigan. We are a family.”

It nearly took me a week just to process this event and how awesome it really was. There were so many factors that played into this event that made it simply special, entertaining, and downright hopeful for another great year of Michigan Football.

The Sklar Brother Tandem

Former Michigan Alum and masters of ceremony, Randy and Jason Sklar had everybody rolling as soon as they stepped onto the stage. Randy had the pleasure of hosting last years’ event but decided to bring his brother Jason along because he was “almost” as big as a Michigan fan as he was. Next thing you know, Jason reminisce when they slept outside Crisler Center for a Michigan vs Duke basketball game when a 2-year-old Grayson Allen decided to trip him on the way in. They even managed to get the crowd fired up with a reference of a certain Ohio referee thinking that joke came up 6 inches short. The two kept the show moving flawlessly and had everyone enjoying themselves till the very end. Hopefully, we can count on these guys being the host for years to come.

A Team Effort by the University

 One of the many reasons I thought what made the event more special than last year was the element of having other coaches from other sports partake as presenters for the former alumni. From Carol Hutchins, the winningest softball coach in the NCAA history and Michigan Athletics to John Paul the head coach for the Mens Lacrosse team. In his 6th season, Paul has helped the club become new members of Division-1 Lacrosse and now is competing in the Big Ten Conference for the first time. The way that this was strategically set up was brilliant and idea of bring others coaches in for the presentation shows just how strong the Michigan community is and willing to cheer on for other athletic departments.

Back to Basics – Big Bodies

 Whether it’s high school, college, or even the NFL, winning at the line of scrimmage is always a key to any football game. Nearly half of the 2017 recruits alone can be found playing on the line of scrimmage. Coach Drevno expressed how they wanted to get more athletic up front and wanted to bring in guys that can immediately compete on the offensive line and all 5 of them fits that bill. Jon Jansen expressed that he enjoys seeing the new recruits already being able to finish their blocks and doesn’t stop till the whistle is blown.

“That’s what I like to see, guys on their back and our guys on top of them.”

Caesar Ruiz, a 5-star Center out of IMG Academy had said that he had known for about two years that he was coming to Michigan after being asked about his popular commitment video and the whole process. Turned out he was just messing and was just saying that for the show purposes.

Graham Glasgow was asked about what kind of advice he could give to these young guys and his answer was perfect.

“Coach Drevno and Coach Harbaugh are always right, if you think you’re right.. you’re wrong.” He chuckled. “Just have faith in these guys and they’ll put theirs back in you.” He mentioned on a serious note.

One of the two biggest steals of the day that Michigan managed to grab was 5-star defensive tackle, Aubrey Solomon out of Georgia. He was a hard one to follow on what he was going to do. First, he committed, then de committed thanks to a miscommunication of a “thank you letter” for attending a BBQ held at the Big House in which he never attended and ultimately rubbed him the wrong way. But at the end of day, Harbaugh and company managed to solidify the defensive line for the next few years alongside with Rashan Gary. Those two together are going to be nasty to see.

The Amount of WR Depth

Detroit Lions Quarterback Jake Rudock mentioned that the offensive line creates the plays which allows the QB to hit those playmakers. We lost three huge offensive weapons in Jake Butt, Jehu Chesson and Amara Darboh. But did we ever overachieve at the wide out position. We had known about Donovan Peoples-Jones, Tarik Black, and Oliver Martin before the event.However, it wasn’t until roughly an hour and a half after the show that we officially went 2-2 on stealing another Alabama recruit right from underneath their nose in Nico Collins. Collins took his first trip when Michigan had played Maryland and It’s pretty damn amazing on why Collins chose Michigan over his second choice of Georgia followed by Alabama.

“It was very amazing,” Collins said. “There were 110,000 fans or something like that. They were live for all four quarters. When I walked in, I could see myself there. Going out under the tunnel under the ‘Go Blue’ sign, I could hear the fans yelling, ‘Nico, Nico!’

“That right there really meant a lot. That showed me they really care about players (yelling Nico). I’m from all the way down south, and they knew about me. That meant a lot.”

We really do have the best fans.

Mind you we still have Grant Perry, Kekoa Crawford, Eddie Mcdoom, Drake Harris and Tyrone Wheatley Jr. I still have goosebumps in thinking what this offense could look like. Pro Style? Spread? Both? I have no idea, but it’s hurting my brain.

Another Signing of the Stars has come and gone and it’s not hard to see and understand how Jim Harbaugh continues to change the environment at Michigan and why these young kids choose Ann Arbor. Three words. Family. Education. Football.

Go Blue!














Peppers Return to Michigan Could Mean a Strive for Greatness


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.

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.

Unfinished business

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.









Peppers is ready for the NFL, but will he go?


Jabrill Peppers is without question ready to start collecting checks on Sunday. In most mocks drafts, he is projected to be a top 10 pick at the safety position in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft. However, don’t be surprised if he decides not to declare after this season.

After having nagging injuries and being limited to playing only 2 ½ games his freshman year, Peppers was redshirted and sat out the remainder of the 2014 season.  The sophomore technically still has two more years of eligibility left to play at Michigan. The big question is, will Peppers forgo his two years and declare for the draft or will he return to the Wolverines?

After displaying his versatility all year playing multiple positions, it seems like a no brainer that he is for sure going to the NFL. Even the Big Ten took notice of some of his accomplishments as he took home some hardware as he was awarded the Nagurski-Woodson defensive player of the year, the Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the year and the Butkus-Fitzgerald linebacker of the year award. That makes him the first player to win three individual awards in the same season since the awards program expanded in 2011. He would finish the regular season on offense with 3 rushing touchdowns, 751 total yards and 1 punt return for a touchdown. On defense, he recorded 71 total tackles, 48 solo, 15 TFL, 4 sacks, 1 FF and 1 interception that would be his first of his career. That interception would come in the 3rd quarter against Ohio State.

We all knew that losing to Iowa had a slight possibility to end up hurting us at the end of the season. But we also knew that if we had beaten Ohio State it was almost certain that we would clinch a playoff berth. After losing to the Buckeyes 30-27 in double-OT, there was still hope. We had to rely too much on the what ifs and had to cheer for the underdogs in Colorado and Virginia Tech. Peppers was very quick to react after it was officially announce that the Wolverines were on the outside looking in.

While acknowledging their loss and failures he also threw some love back to PSU for getting the job that they couldn’t do. Beat Ohio St. and win the Big Ten Championship.


Like majority of his life, it looks like Peppers has turned to his mother once more for some guidance.  Earlier this week, per Darren Heitner who is a sports attorney tweeted that Peppers’ mother, Ivory Bryant had delivered a forty-one-question document to all prospective NFL agents.

Now this doesn’t necessarily say that it’s a sure thing that we will make the jump. The way I look at it, is that his mother wants the very best for his future and wants to help explore the options and eliminate any difficulty that her son might be having in front of him. So! Will Jabrill Peppers return to Michigan for one more year? I think so. Should he? Yes. Those answers are not just me being a biased fan and no I do not have any high-end sources telling me this. It’s just what I truly believe.

At the age of 7, Jabrills’ father Terry, the same person that introduced him to the game, was arrested on a weapons charge.

“My father was arrested when I was seven years old. In that split second when he was taken away, I went from having a father who I could work out with and who was on the sideline for all my football games, to being a kid searching for a male role model in his life. And I didn’t know how long he was going to be gone.”

He said in an entry he posted on The Players’ Tribune titled The Game. It’s a must read.

Without a father figure, he had turned to his older brother, Don.

“Don was the guy I looked up to. And even though he was out in the streets like most of the other guys in our neighborhood, doing things he wasn’t supposed to be doing, he would never let me get involved. He kept me on the right path from a young age. And he was one of the first people who told me I had the potential to be something great — that I needed to chase my football dream. “You have a God-given gift,” he’d say. It would be disrespectful to God to not make the most of that gift.”

Like a lot of kids in urban neighborhoods, we dreamed a lot about the future, of better times. Many kids were so caught up in the street life that they couldn’t dream past the city limits. But Don and I talked differently, mostly because of my potential on the football field. That was going to be my way out — our way out.”

In January of 2010, for the second time in Jabrills’ life another father figure was taken from him too soon, when Don was shot and killed. Bryant was left alone to raise her son despite working long hours as a social worker to support her son. Just before his senior year of high school his father Terry was released from prison after serving nearly 11 years.

“We was just trying to get to know each other again,” Peppers said. “A lot of time had passed. Ten and a half years, almost 11 years. At the end of the day, man, that’s my pops. We’re still working on our relationship. It’s going to get better. We’ve still got to make up for that 10 and a half years, but we’re gonna be all right.”

After losing his brother, Peppers never had a type of “brother hood” like he did Don until he came to Michigan. Not just the family and brothers he goes to war with every Saturday but his brothers of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. During the 78-0 rout of Rutgers, Peppers returned a punt for a touchdown that would eventually get called back. After Peppers ran into the end zone he would put up his arms as some may know as “throwing the hooks”.

For those who don’t know, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity (OPPF) is the first international fraternal organization founded at a historically black college. The fraternity was founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C on Nov. 23, 1911. Before joining the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity last spring, Peppers wasn’t recruited. He actually reached out to fraternity.

“He sought us out,” says Terence Browner, a Michigan senior and member of the fraternity. “The more he learned about it, the more he felt the connection, the vibe. I could sense the excitement oozing off of him. He wanted to be a part of something.”

He wanted to surround himself with people who reflect him and who he wants to be. Peppers found others that are like him that enjoy community service and giving back. While only being engaged with the fraternity for such a short time, Peppers’ and a few of his friends went across town to Community High School in Ann Arbor and spoke to about 200 students about habits, time management and the transition from high school to college.

“He literally had an individual conversation with every single person who approached him,” says Brandon Jackson, a friend of Peppers who teaches world history at the high school. “I mean, we’re talking about 200 people. He asked every one of them something about themselves and answered more questions if they had them.

“Every kid that day walked away feeling good about themselves, feeling uplifted.”

Not only is Jabrill Peppers the most versatile player in the nation on the field but his play is very similar off the field. Playing for Michigan has been his dream since he was a little kid. So why stop now? Why not one more year? Just imagine the impact that he could do in that time. Not only for UofM but the state of Michigan itself. His talent level is ready for the NFL and his maturity is way above a lot of players at his age. There is a few wrinkles that I had noticed in the last three games that certainly can be fixed at the college level.

Whether he decides to go now or next year his mother is definitely getting the home that she deserves for raising such a humble and gifted young man. If push comes to shove and he decides to go he might want to start shopping around for a bigger trophy case as earlier today he was announced  as one of the top 5  finalist for the Heisman Trophy. His reaction says it all.

Hopefully Peppers recalls what he wrote and rethinks the order of his goals.

“I’m on a mission. And that mission won’t be complete until … I don’t even know when. I guess I have a lot of missions. It’s always changing. That’s how you continue to grow and get better. You set goals that seem impossible, and when you reach them, you set more impossible goals and do whatever humanly possible to reach those, too. I want to win a national championship at Michigan. I want to graduate. I want to go to the NFL and have a long, successful career.”

Make sure you write it down on your calendars as Michigan vs. Florida State in Orange Bowl on Friday, December 30th at 8:00pm as we just may witness Peppers play his very last game.

“Those who stay will be champions”

Hail.. Go Blue!

O’Korn May Get His Shot as Michigan Still Controls Their Destiny


Despite the tough loss against the Iowa Hawkeyes and having key injuries occur, the Wolverines are still in the hunt for a Big Ten Championship and more importantly still in control for a national title after three of the top five teams crumbled this past weekend. However, Michigan suffered their first loss which has left no room for error and must win out, possibly without their starting quarterback.

Kinnick Stadium was everything that we expected. It was very possible that they could have lost. But no one expected that they would be handed their first lost in Iowa City. Some even thought that it was our “first tough” road game (apparently playing in East Lansing is no big deal). With it being a night game, the underperforming Hawkeyes, who started 17th in the preseason AP poll rankings, played like they had nothing to lose and insisted to ruin our season with a last second field goal. After the game, senior captains defensive end Chris Wormley and John Mackey Award semifinalist Jake Butt greeted the media in disbelief but remained hopeful for the remainder of the season.

“When it comes down to it, we didn’t make the plays we needed,” Wormley said. “Plain and simple, they made more plays than us. A few things went their way. Looking at today, we’ll look back at the film, see what we did wrong, see what we did right. Figure out those things. But at the end of the day that we lost.”

“We left a lot of opportunities, a lot of plays out on the field today,” Butt said. “There were some big plays we left out on the field. We’re just going to have to look in the mirror, look at the film, and become better because of this. There’s really no excuse. There’s absolutely no excuse. We’ve got to be a lot better than we were today.”

Harbaugh stressed to the team after the game that it’s not over yet and that their goals are still ahead of them.

“Just keep going,” Wormley said. “We’ve got two more games left. We win those two, we’re right where we need to be. Just got to get those done. There’s a lot of things we left out there, a lot of things we could have done better. We’ll watch the film and continue to keep working.”

The fourth quarter was an absolute mess for the Wolverines’. Not only could they uncharacteristically stop the run but they would suffer multiple injuries as well. One being the heart of the secondary, Delano Hill who left the game with an undisclosed injury. Both Channing Stribling and Wilton Speight also injured their shoulders. It appears that Striblings’ injury is nothing too serious to be worried about but Speights’ shoulder has me a little concerned regarding the rest of the season.

There have been non-stop rumors of him being questionable for the Wolverines final home game against Indiana to him being declared out for the season. But Harbaugh is denying anything that is circulating around and currently saying that “its day-to-day thing right now”. We may not even know till the afternoon kickoff if he’s even able to play or not. To be honest, it’s sounding a lot like his decision when he announced the season starter before the opening game against Hawaii.

If Speight is out for this week, John O’Korn is likely to step in and showcase as to why he should’ve gotten the call as the starter. So, who the hell is O’Korn?

O’Korn started his freshman year at Houston, passing for 3,117 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2013 while leading the Cougars to an 8-5 record on the year. Even though his first year went well, his sophomore year didn’t go as planned. O’Korn then lost the job to Greg Ward Jr. after a 2-3 start his sophomore year. Houston would go 6-2 the rest of the way as O’Korn watched from the sideline. He then transferred to Michigan and had to sit out a year due his transfer which was made official in February of 2015.

Many people had believed that O’Korn might have been the better option for his ability to scramble out of the pocket and make big plays down the field. Quite frankly there is an argument for that case. O ‘Korn is a pro-style quarterback who fits the Michigan system better than the spread at Houston. But Harbaugh knows his quarterbacks and it obviously showed what separated the two QBs’ apart as Speight progressed every game and led the team to a 9-0 record before falling to Iowa.

“He watches film after practice probably more than anybody I have seen at the college level, which is weird for someone who isn’t asked to play as much as he does (because) he’s not the starter,” U-M co-captain Chris Wormley said Tuesday night after practice. “I guess doing that for the past 2-3 months, it’s going to help him out big-time, starting Saturday.”

It’s frightening to know that it is November and a new quarterback may be taking over the helm with two of the most important games remaining on the schedule. O’Korn is a hard worker and by the sounds of it has been waiting for his opportunity to come knocking at the door. He doesn’t have to play great this weekend. He must be consistent, smart and protect the football. If his teammates believe in him, so should we.

Go Blue!

Jabrill Peppers Speeds Into Heisman Contention


Last week, I gave a very short and simple answer as how Jabrill Peppers could win the 2016 Heisman. Peppers would have to make big plays in big games and lead the Wolverines on a title run. In East Lansing on Saturday, there just happened to be a big game and Peppers dressed like a gazelle, trick or treating from one end-zone all the way to the other.

For the first time since 2007, the Michigan Wolverines enjoyed their ride home after beating Michigan State 32-23 in the 64th meeting for the Paul Bunyan Trophy.

It was a hostile environment and Michigan State student section was not letting up one bit. On separate occasions of the game they could be heard chanting “F— Jim Harbaugh”.


“Yeah, I heard it,” Harbaugh said to Jim Brandstatter during his radio show on Monday. “I thought it was really great and classy. I thought they were saying ‘LOVE JIM HARBAUGH’And they kept repeating it. ‘LOVE-JIM-HAR-BAUGH!’ That’s great sportsmanship here by the Michigan State Spartans!”

Peppers thrives for this kind of atmosphere.’They say things to me in the crowd, and I feed off that,” Peppers responded about the crowd. “I block it out and, sometimes, I listen to what they’re saying. Sometimes funny stuff, some not-so-funny stuff. But I try to silence that all by the way I play, with my effort.”

It was a perfect stage for Peppers to convince many doubters as to why he should be in New York come December. While diving for the pylon, Peppers would start off the game and put Michigan on the board with a 3-yard rushing TD out of the wildcat formation.

“Last week, I tried to get too pretty, do extra stuff rather than just run the ball in,” he said. “I just wanted to leave no doubt. I didn’t really have to dive, but that was the safe thing to do to ensure we put some points on the board.”

By the time that the game was over Peppers was already going down in history.


This late into the season, it is well known that Jabrill is always going to be on the field. You just never know where. He played a whopping 9 different positions on Saturday. ESPN recorded that Peppers had 42 plays at linebacker, 12 at cornerback, nine at nickelback, six as the wildcat quarterback, one at safety, one as an H-back, one at receiver, plus serving as kick returner and punt returner. He also was on the field goal block team.

Late in the 4th quarter, MSU quarterback Tyler O’Connor threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Donnie Corley with 1 second left in the game to bring the game within reach. In a desperate attempt, MSU went for two-point conversion, unknowingly it would later come as the “nail in the coffin”. As soon as the ball was hiked, O’Connor was greeted and fumbled the ball by tossing a high pitch to not so ready Gerald Holmes. On the second bounce off the turf, Peppers scooped the ball up raced into the endzone as he was in back in his high school track days.

The Spartans weren’t the only ones blown away by Peppers’ sprint. Even Jim Harbaugh was impressed.


“It was satisfying because now there was nothing they can do to beat us with one second left,” he said. “It was kind of moment of release. Whatever happens from here, we’re still in good shape. They kind of ended it last year with something.”

Peppers finished the game on defense with 7 tackles, 2 TFL and 1 Sack on a crucial 4th down. On offense, he had 5 carries for 24 yards with 1 rushing TD and his first reception on the year for a lousy -2 yards. Also adding in a kick and punt return.

As they should, many analyst are finally taking what Jabrill is doing seriously. Some have him finally breaking into their top 5 and others even into their top 2. Because of the depth of Michigan’s running attack, Peppers won’t get the numbers like we all know he could get. However, the fact that opposing coaches have yet to stop him nor effectively decline his impact at his other positions in the game, is what makes him intriguing and honestly scary for the other candidates gunning for the Heisman. Its November and Maryland who happens to have one of the worst rushing defense in the nation is next on the schedule. I think we might be on the verge of witnessing the start of a takeover.

Go Blue!