UA Game: Peppers & Speight Earn Rave Reviews

Scout.com National Director of Scouting Scott Kennedy shares his evaluations of Jabrill Peppers and Wilton Speight with GoBlueWolverine's Sam Webb. The long time talent scout praised both future Wolverines, but gave Peppers especially high marks.

Sam Webb:  Standing here with Scout.com national recruiting director Scott Kennedy.  So first of all Scott, I am glad the weather came out.  I think it came out just for you so that we could get some good light. Let us talk first about Wilton Speight  He has been a guy that I think, talking to Greg, has developed a lot over the last few years.  Kind of take us back to your first experience watching him, compared to where he is now.  Kind of get a gauge on the magnitude of his growth. 

Scott Kennedy:  “All the Elite 11 things kind of run together so I don’t remember which of the camps I saw him at, but I remember seeing him before and thinking, okay, solid, but I do not remember the tight spiral I am seeing this week.  I remember it fluttering a little bit more.  So everything that he is doing, he has gotten better at.  That is all you ask out of a player, especially one that is 6’4” plus, 200 plus pounds with an arm like his. Is he going to keep improving?  Yes, absolutely he has.  He is setting his feet well.  The ball is coming out.  It is coming out hot.  It is coming out with a tight spiral.  It is coming out accurate.  What more could you possible look for?  So, I have been very impressed, I think, with those quarterbacks over on that side.  You have (Morgan) Mahalak, who is a dual threat type guy.  You’ve got Rafe Peavey, who is a great little thrower, but he is little.  He is probably 5’11”.  Then you’ve got a big Wilton Speight.  So there is a nice contrast in players.  I think long term, when you are looking down the line, Wilton Speight might have the best long term potential as far as, okay, who is going to be a NFL type guy, who is the best pro guy.  He is not out there going to run circles around people but he can pass circles around a lot of these guys.” 

Sam Webb:  It is interesting that you mention that he is not going to run circles around people but one thing that Greg mentioned that I think might surprise some people is, while he is not a mobile guy, he is a guy that can extend plays.  He buys time with his feet, even if he doesn’t scramble. 

Scott Kennedy:  “A lot of that has to do with confidence as far as are you comfortable in the pocket, are you tough, you know.  Peyton Manning could not run a six flat downhill 40, but he is still one of the best guys with his foot work, sliding from one side to the other, and like you said, extending the plays.  You do not have to be overly mobile to be a mobile quarterback.  That is where I think Wilton can do it.  We haven’t seen that out here, you know.  That is something you see watching on tape because they are not under duress.  If they are under pressure, then you blow the play dead because you don’t want to see anybody get hurt.  He is not Denard Robinson by any stretch of the imagination. But he can move and he can extend the play, like you said.  He can throw on the run.  Like I said, the most important thing with him is everything I saw him do this spring, he has gotten better at.” 

Sam Webb:  Let us talk about Jabrill Peppers.  Obviously, the marquee guy on Michigan’s board and everyone I talked to says he has performed like a marquee guy out here this week. 

Scott Kennedy:  “Don Cox is his defensive backs coach and he is a good friend of mine from a long time back, out of New Orleans and he is just raving.  Don is a positive guy who raves about a lot of guys, but he will just shake his head.  We will talk more, I will have something with him later that he will expand on what he says but what I see is a guy that could play four to five different positions and excel at them.  He is a strong running back.  He is as fluid as a good corner.  He hits like a linebacker.  He could play safety.  You could honestly take him and put him in an outside linebacker position and he would flourish.  He is going to return kicks.  He is going to return punts.  He catches anything that is near him.  He is spectacular.  He is a top three player in this country, regardless of position for a reason and at 5’10” or 5’11”, he is pretty special.  I was talking with the fans around here earlier, what about that guy, what about that guy.  I said listen, if you were to say Cameron Robinson was your #1 guy, I would not argue with you.  If you were to say Leonard Fournette was your #1 guy, I would not argue with you.  Jabrill Peppers #1, okay, he is good enough.  I don’t argue levels of elite.  The kid is elite.” 

Sam Webb:  Okay, I am going to ask you a tough question.  You mentioned he could play five positions at the next level.  At what position do you think he would have the greatest impact? 

Scott Kennedy:  “Well, I think for the impact on the college game, and I said this with De’Anthony Thomas.  Hopefully everybody knows who he is by now, the Black Mamba over at Oregon.  If I am his coach, I want him playing running back/receiver because I think he can impact a game most that way because I can get the ball to him the most.  If I am his agent, I want him playing cornerback.  I think we have seen that with him.  Now, De’Anthony Thomas came in at about 165 pounds.  Jabrill Peppers is going to come in at 200.  He is a different type of player.  I think in impact on the game, he could play safety/return man.  As far as where is he going to be the most valuable, if I look at draft boards, I see corners go ahead of safeties.  That is where, if I am his agent, I want him playing cornerback.  I think the impact that he can have on the game where he can freelance and use his instincts and see.  I still want the ball in his hands, I still want him returning them and maybe get him a couple of packages on offense.  I still want to see what he can do there.  I think his impact on the game is letting them roam around a little bit and freelance and let him play – an Eric Berry style of safety where they would walk him up.  I mean, Eric Berry had 15 tackles for loss.  He is that kind of a player.  Eric Berry, I thought, was maybe the best player in college football a couple of years ago.” 

Sam Webb:  Great stuff as always from Scott Kennedy.  Thanks a lot Scott. 

Scott Kennedy:  “Thank you, Sam.” 


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