Due to injuries to his ankle and knee, the standout freshman defensive back has been sidelined since the Utah loss in week 4, and the possibility of him seeing the field again this season is in doubt.
Today, Michigan coach Brady Hoke says Peppers is “closer” in his recovery, but still wouldn’t say whether Peppers would play again this season.
“He’s frustrated,” Hoke said. “He wants to play football. He’s highly competitive. He’s doing really well in school, those kind of things. But he’s a competitor.”
The Wolverines have four games remaining this season, which begs the questions: Will Peppers redshirt and sit out the rest of the season? Is it even worth bringing him back for the stretch run?
“I don’t know if there is a point of no return,” Hoke said. “I think the one thing you look at: how good a guy is? Will he be here five years anyway? Will he just be here four years? Will he be here three years?”
Before that decision is made, however, Hoke says he’ll sit down with Peppers and members of his decision making process.
“I would always, and always have talk to the young man,” Hoke said. “And counsel with his family and all those things. I don’t think it’s my place to say ‘Even when you do it, OK, we’re not going to redshirt you earlier in the year.’ I want to make sure their parents, their guardians, whoever that might be, their high school coach, I want them to know we’ll make a group decision on it. And what’s best for Michigan, first. And then what’s best for that young man.”
So this decision won’t be made lightly, Hoke says.
“The good thing is our relationship has been built on trust,” Hoke said. “And it’s always been a great relationship. So when I see him being a little frustrated – not as happy – whatever you want to call it. I’m going to approach him on it. He’s a competitive guy. Pretty well thought of coming out of high school. All of sudden you have two things that set you back. it’s hard. It’s difficult.”
Michigan (3-5, 1-3 Big Ten) next plays host to Indiana (3-4, 0-3) this Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
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