ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Jabrill Peppers is a legit two-way threat.
Peppers, who stars for the Wolverines at defensive back, can be seen at safety, outside cornerback, nickel back and is the main returner on special teams.
However, it has long been expected that he would play offense this season, especially after staring at running back and wide receiver at known powerhouse Paramus (N.J.) Catholic coming out of high school.
Earlier this month against Michigan State, U-M finally unveiled Peppers for the first time on offense to a rousing success, as he caught two passes for 35 yards, taking one pass 28 yards setting up an eventual Michigan touchdown drive.
“He is so ridiculously explosive and gifted with the ball in hands,” said Jay Harbaugh when asked about Peppers. “It’s an exciting thing for us to have him involved.”
Adding: “You want to make sure you are doing what’s best for the team. So if that means giving him same or more opportunities, we could do that. But he’s one of the best defensive players in the country, so you want to make sure you’re not disturbing that and getting to cute on everybody.”
Through Michigan’s first seven games, Peppers is fifth on the team in tackles (23) and is second in pass break ups (5), which shows how valuable he is to U-M’s top ranked defense, and a big reason why he wasn’t rushed to the offensive side of the ball, says Harbaugh.
“You let the season unfold a bit and see how he fits in,” Harbaugh said. “Is he going to play every snap on offense? Is he never going to play offense? How comfortbale is he in the defense? Where is going to fit in there? You can’t start moving a guy around and ask too much then you end up getting less out of him.”
How has Peppers handled playing so much this season? Well, Harbaugh has his theory on Peppers' conditioning.
“Certain guys work harder on their conditioning so they can harder for longer than other people,” Harbaugh said. “So that’s a tremendous credit to him. I don’t know, maybe some of it biological, they just have a aerobic capacity that’s head a shoulder above guys. He just seems to be able to do it, and loves to play. He always wants to do more.”