Charles Woodson praises U-M recruit Jabrill Peppers

ANN ARBOR — Jabrill Peppers is expected to energize Michigan football.

That’s the freshman hype that comes with being the nation’s No. 2- or No. 3-ranked player, depending on the recruiting service.

The Paramus (N.J.) Catholic star defensive back has said he wants to be as good or better than Charles Woodson, and he finally got to meet Woodson at the U-M spring game.

“You can see the confidence just spilling out of this guy’s pores,” Woodson said last week on WTKA-AM (1050). “It was exciting for me to share a little bit with him and meet with him. I’m looking for big things out of him. This is a guy that has all the confidence in the world, and we need a guy like that on Michigan’s team. I’m looking for him to come in there, make plays and get it done.”

Coach Brady Hoke and defensive coordinator Greg Mattison embraced Peppers’ talent talking about him this spring and how quickly he can fit on the field.

Woodson arrived at U-M highly touted in 1995, though as an offensive player at tailback, and wasted no time making an impact on defense.

“I was a (talented) athlete, and there were some things I had naturally, and I also had the mentality I was going to go out there and be the best,” said Woodson, who in 1997 became the only primarily defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy. “The expectations that people have for you, you already feel like you’re going to do those things, so the expectations and the pressure doesn’t mean anything.

“That’s what I would see Jabrill coming in that mold, a guy who already sees himself as going to be great.”

Though Peppers will have to learn U-M’s defense, his skill level is so high and his body physically ready at 6-feet-1, 205 pounds, that it’s a question of where he can be most effective.

Hoke said after the spring he expects that to probably begin at the nickel spot.

Peppers brings more speed than Woodson. He set New Jersey track records last year in the non-public-A class by running a 10.51 100-meter dash and a 21.22 200 meters. The sectionals are slated for this weekend with his best times this year, according to at 10.74 in the 100, 21.51 in the 200 and 20-11 in the long jump.


Posted by Tribune News Services

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