On defense alone, he’s lined up a safety, nickel and cornerback in redshirt freshman season, and was able to win Big Ten Freshman of the year for his effort.
So when you have a unique talent like Peppers, coaches tend to experiment.
Enter first year defensive coordinator Don Brown, who runs a high-pressure blitzed scheme defense, which utilizes an athletic linebacker in the box to make plays in space.
Which is perfect match for Peppers, right?
At 6-foot-1, 208-pounds, and top-end speed to go along with it, Peppers fits the bill, and reflected on when Brown approached him on playing the SAM linebacker position this spring.
“He came to me and said ‘We feel this role would beneficial to you and the defense.’” Peppers said of his talk with Brown. “He said he thinks it could be effective for us because they won’t know where you are lining up while I’m on the field, because I’m not just going to play linebacker.
“It’s really smart when you really think about it, ” Peppers added.
Coming off a season in which he finished with 45 tackles with 5.5 tackles for loss and 10 pass break ups, Peppers says at first, however, he was a little hesitant about the move.
“I’m not going to lie at first it was kind of frustrating because I wasn’t use to it, the reads and as far as pulling with the pulling guards and things like that,” Peppers said. “Once I got the hang of it and really put the time in the film room, it just became natural.”
But it all changed once Brown showed Peppers some film on how he planned to utilize the All Big Ten first teamer.
“Absolutely, that’s exactly how it went,” Peppers said of Brown showing him film. “He showed me the tape. He said ‘do you think you can do that? I’m like, ‘I know I can do that coach, probably better.’ We shared a laugh about that.”
Adding: “But coach Brown is a great guy, great coach man, and you would just be a fool not to listen to him and not believe that he has your best interest at heart.”
And no one is doubting that Peppers can do it either.