ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Jabrill Peppers can do it all on the football field.
That was proved last season, when he was named Big Ten Freshman of the year for his diversity playing on both sides of the ball.
Not mush has changed for Peppers as he heads into his redshirt sophomore season at Michigan. He will still be expected to play everywhere on the field.
He’ll line up at safety, cornerback, and this time around, linebacker. More specifically – SAM linebacker – off the edge, where the All-American will line up at times this spring and beyond, says U-M linebacker coach Chris Partridge.
Why put Peppers in the box? Why make the move to linebacker?
Well, because of Peppers’ top-end speed, says Partridge.
“He can get the quarterback in under a second off the ball,” Partridge said. “He’s got quickness. He’s going to put some O-lineman in some tough situations coming off the edge.”
And when Peppers isn’t running after the quarterback off the edge, his makeup speed will be displayed in pass coverage, says Partridge.
“He can also drop and get to the flat real quick,” Partridge said. “He can cover a guy from the line of scrimmage, being a tight end or a back out of the backfield. He can do some real dynamic things for us there.”
Peppers finished with 45 tackles and 10 pass break ups in 2015 in a hybrid nickel-safety position. This season, however, Partridge wouldn’t name a specific group he is working with this spring.
“Jabrill works with a lot of people,” Partridge said. “He’s with me. He’s with the safety coaches. He’s kind of everywhere. So he’s a smart football player who can take on a lot. We’re going to ask him to take on a lot. So I think sky is the limit on the amount of positions he can play.”
Adding: “We might even line him up at nose tackle this year if we can.”
Michigan plays its annual spring game on April 1.