Sam Webb: When did you know that Michigan was going to be the place?
Jabrill Peppers: “I knew right after the visit, but I still just wanted to take it slowly and give some other colleges a chance. I figured if Michigan could surprise me so much then I’m pretty sure that another one of my top choices could as well. Every visit I went on, I compared to Michigan and it was just no comparison. It was just the feel of it, the coaches, just everything.”
Sam Webb: One of the things we didn’t talk very much about before was your visit over to the basketball office while you were in Ann Arbor. Take me through with what that was like.
Jabrill Peppers: “Yeah yeah, they were real cool. I met all the players before they played in their Final Four game. That was real cool. One guy that I really wanted to meet especially was (Tim) Hardaway Jr., so I got a chance to meet him so that was real dope too.”
Sam Webb: Did you get a chance to talk to Trey Burke at all?
Jabrill Peppers: “Yeah. I talked to Trey, Mr. Ohio (laughter). He was like, there is no better place to be. He said that team down south and Michigan, there is no comparison. He said that he was going to go to O-State but there was no comparison with Michigan. Hardaway said there is no other place to be. They were really down for their school. They were real cool dudes.”
Sam Webb: What about the coaches? I know you had some time with Bacari Alexander.
Jabrill Peppers: “Yeah he’s funny (laughter). He’s funny. That’s my man. He tried to drop a couple of (rap verses). He dropped a little something on me. (laughter)”
Sam Webb: At the end of the day, though, I know it came down to the coaches you are going to Ann Arbor to play for, so talk about those guys a little bit.
Jabrill Peppers: “Coach Mallory is a good coach. He is just the kind of coach I need. He focuses mainly on the technique. You are at Michigan, you’re expected to be athletic. I just really need my technique down pat. He is going to coach you hard. They’re all his kids and I actually had a pleasant joy of sitting in a meeting room with them while he was talking to his players and everything felt right. I felt like I was learning it as he was teaching them and I’m not even there yet. That was definitely real cool.”
“Coach Mattison is a great dude, funny guy. He has got NFL experience. I love the defense schemes that he runs. They fit right up in my alley. He likes to blitz his corners. He wants his cornerbacks to be aggressive, play zone/man and I feel like I’m all of that. I’m very curious to see how he is going to use me.”
“Coach Manning is my man! Coach Manning is a real, real good dude. Him and Coach Singletary, those are my dudes. Those guys… I can’t even wait to get up there. They showed me a great time. They kept it real businesslike, but they also told me how it can be when I get there. They answered all my questions and they were real cool. I felt real comfortable up there right away. As soon as I got there, you would have thought I was going to school up there.”
“Coach Hoke is the most down-to-earth guy, besides Coach Billy O’Brien, they are both pretty similar in their personalities. I expected a totally different coach, but when I saw how open and cool and relaxed and just chilling, I really couldn’t believe it. We had a good talk. We probably talked for about 30 minutes and I would say about five minutes of it was about football. He really cares about his players, not only getting all of them on the field but off the field as well. He is just empowering the young men to become great young men and become a Michigan man.”
Sam Webb: I talked to Da’Shawn Hand last week before you committed and he said you two have got a little vibe going and you guys have been talking a little bit.
Jabrill Peppers: “Oh yeah. That’s my man. I told him that a great D-line makes a great DB. I need you, you need me. I’m going to lock the guys down so you can get your sack on and you put some pressure on that quarterback so I get my pick on. That’s my man. He definitely know what we doing up over there. He definitely understands the tradition. He just wants to explore more. I’m not going to pressure him. I’m not going to put any pressure on him. I’m going to let him enjoy the process, like people let me enjoy mine. I told him there is no other place like Ann Arbor. Those guys are real genuine. They keep like 100, talking about coming in and making an instant impact. There are a lot of things. That’s my man. I’m definitely going to be coming after him, but whatever he decides to do I’m going to be supportive.”
Sam Webb: Are you going to graduate early and go to Michigan in January?
Jabrill Peppers: “I want to, but the president of my school -- I do not think he is going to allow me just because it is a Catholic school, we have to go through the whole archdiocese thing. I don’t really think he is going to allow me to do that. I backed off of it for now because I don’t want to keep bugging him about it. But next year when we win another state championship while he is a little softer… (laughter).”
Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for much more from Peppers in part during which he goes in-depth about his obstacle laden journey to this point, his plan to establish a unique legacy at Michigan, and more.