Durkin: Peppers 'Brings it Everyday'

Defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin discussed the work Jabrill Peppers has put in this spring. And so far, he's done everything right.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - So far Jabrill Peppers does a little bit of everything for Michigan.

He leads. He makes plays. He's vocal. He looks the part of an elite college football player.

Essentially -- he's as advertised. He's living up to hype.

That's right, the hype of a five-star prospect, who already is considered the most popular player on the team as he heads into his redshirt freshman season.

"The guy loves football," said Michigan defensive coordinator D.J.Durkin said. "He's intelligent off the field. He's intelligent on the field as well. I'm not surprised at all, he works really hard at it. He's got a great attitude everyday he comes here. So it shows in how he plays."

Much was expected of him coming out of Paramus (N.J.) Catholic rated as Scout.com's No. 2 overall prospect. However, Peppers didn't have the freshman season he envisioned. He only played in three games, making two starts, after injuring his ankle in the home opener versus Appalachian State. An ankle injury, which would linger all year and would eventually lead to his medical redshirt waiver.

This off-season, Peppers switched from cornerback to safety, a switch that has already paid dividends, says Durkin.

"I think he's a guy, guys can really look to as a leader cause by example," Durkin said. "He's vocal, but you lead by example. He brings it every day.

"Communication on the field. Communication on our defense is critical. We have guys talking and getting other guys lined up with what we do. Especially the safety and the inside linebackers. We've moved him to several different spots -- he's vocal wherever he's at."

When asked if he was OK with Peppers being one of the leaders on his defense, Durkin replied: "Absolutely, freshman, true freshman, that doesn't matter to me. The guys is either ready or he's not. That's from experience and my track record. We played a lot of young guys."

While his main position is expected to be strong safety, Durkin says you can see Peppers lined up all over the field this fall.

"We play him a lot of spots. He's a talented guy. He can play anywhere in the backend for us," Durkin said. "... We're going to put him where we need him. Based on who our game plan is, who we're facing, what the match up are. Will get him as well as the other guys, where we need them and have success."

And, maybe, just maybe, you might see Peppers on the offensive side of the ball.

"Whatever is best for the team," Durkin said. "Whatever is best for the team will do."

Everyone will get their first look at Peppers on Saturday, when Michigan plays its annual spring game at noon.

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