Michigan Football Preview 2015

2015 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 23 of 163

22 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2015 FOOTBALL PREVIEW MICHIGAN FOOTBALL Jabrill Peppers Looks To Join Top Redshirt Freshmen Of Past 30 Years Jabrill Peppers never expected to redshirt his freshman season, but besieged by injuries to his ankle and his knee, the former five-star prospect had no choice. With expecta- tions high, Peppers could produce the kind of campaign that would merit inclusion on this list — Michigan's top redshirt freshman seasons of the past three decades. 1. DT Mark Messner, 1985: A first-team All-Big Ten performer and a second-team All-American, Messner led the Wolverines with 11 sacks and was second on the team with 15 tackles for loss. He started every game at defensive tackle for the Maize and Blue, and finished with 71 total stops. 2. OG Steve Hutchinson, 1997: The 6-5, 293-pounder started all 12 games at left guard for the national champion Wolverines. A first-team All-Big Ten selection, he blocked for an offensive line that allowed only 18 sacks all season. 3. WR Steve Breaston, 2003: A dynamic kick returner, Breaston showed off his skills immediately, averaging 26.3 yards per punt return in his first collegiate game. He scored two touchdowns on punts and averaged 13.8 yards per return in 2003 while also catching 36 balls for 444 yards and three touchdowns. For good measure, he had two rushing scores. 4. LB Jarrett Irons, 1993: A starter in 10 of 12 games, Irons set a Michigan freshman record with 95 tackles, be- coming only the second Wolverine ever to lead U-M in stops as a rookie. An All-Big Ten second-team selection, he re- corded double-digit tackles in five of Michigan's 12 contests. 5. OT Jeff Backus, 1997: Though not as heralded as his classmate, Backus matched Hutchinson with 12 starts during the 1997 campaign. He earned second-team all-conference honors and helped U-M average 182.3 rushing yards per game. 6. QB Elvis Grbac, 1989: Starting four games in place of an injured Michael Taylor, Grbac played in eight total contests, throwing for 824 yards and eight touchdowns and completing 62.9 percent of his attempts. He went 4-0 in his starts and 1-1 in relief. 7. Chris Hutchinson, 1989: Named the nation's most Outstanding Freshman Defensive Lineman by Sporting News, Hutchinson was second on the team with nine tackles for loss and third with four sacks among his 45 total stops. He picked up second-team All-Big Ten honors for his effort. 8. OT Jon Jansen, 1995: Making the transition from tight end to offensive tackle in spring drills, Jansen wasted no time asserting himself and started all 13 games at right tackle for the Maize and Blue. He helped lead U-M to an average of 201.6 yards rushing per game and Tshimanga Biakabutuka's famous 313-yard effort against OSU. 9. LB Erick Anderson, 1988: Appeared in nine games defensively and started Michigan's final five contests in 1988, recording a team-high 77 tackles. He had four double- digit tackle efforts, including a 16-stop outing against Ohio State. 10. John Navarre, 2000: Filling in for injured starter Drew Henson, Navarre was 3-1 in four starts to begin the season, completing 51.9 percent of his passes for 583 yards and eight touchdowns. He tied a U-M single-game QB re- cord with four TD throws in a 42-7 win over Bowling Green — his debut. — Michael Spath Peppers had hoped to contribute right away as a true freshman last season, but a series of injuries held him back. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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