Michigan Football Preview 2015

2015 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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108 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2015 FOOTBALL PREVIEW BY MICHAEL SPATH T he highest-rated Michigan signee of the Rivals.com era (2002-pres- ent) at No. 3 nationally in the 2014 class, Jabrill Peppers arrived at U-M with deafening hype, but only three games into his freshman year, he was shelved for the rest of the season with a knee injury. He may not have been able to save the Wolverines' campaign had he played, but Peppers certainly could have impacted defensively, and perhaps even offensively, for a team that went 5-7. In this Q&A with The Wolverine, Peppers talks about the emotional blow of losing his rookie year to injury, the decision to move to safety from cornerback, his performance this past spring and much more. THE WOLVERINE: What injuries eventually led to shutting it down last sea- son, and how did you respond to sitting out? PEPPERS: "My first injury was a left ankle injury on the first drive of the Ap- palachian State game, our opener. The second was a right knee injury in practice the week of the Minnesota game [in week five]. Because of the ankle, I was favor- ing my other side and busted up my knee. "I've had minor sprains and things of that nature, but nothing that had stopped me from doing what I love doing, which is play football. It was definitely very hard for me because I thought I was like Iron Man, that no matter what happened, I would always be OK and find a way to play. "When you're going through something like that and your team is struggling, you think you could help them in some way, whether it's making plays or making other guys around you better. To not be out there with my guys was something I had never had to deal with before, and it was definitely uncomfortable and very difficult." THE WOLVERINE: You arrived at Michigan with considerable recruiting fanfare. How did the intense expectations impact you? PEPPERS: "I really don't set expectations. I have a lot of people that do that for me, but I don't pay that any mind. I like to think I am the hardest worker you will find on my team and that effort translates onto the field. You get what you put in. I just wanted to come in and help the team in anyway that I could, but I didn't put expectations on myself." THE WOLVERINE: There was a lot of discussion about you playing corner- back or safety coming out of high school. What position did the coaches want to utilize you at before the injuries? PEPPERS: "Nickel back and cornerback. It was more by game plan. One game they wanted me on the outside, and one game they wanted me on the inside. I tried to learn both because I wanted to earn playing time as quickly as I could." READY FOR ACTION Jabrill Peppers Discusses Last Year's Season-Ending Injury, Moving To Safety And His Role On The 2015 Defense WOLVERINE Q&A

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