ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Jim Harbaugh named Jabrill Peppers, Mike McCray, Wilton Speight and Brandon Watson as his top performers in Michigan’s 63-3 win against Hawaii on Saturday.
Peppers, who was on everyone preseason All-American list, finished with eight tackles and one sack in the win, all while playing his new hybrid linebacker position in Don Brown’s aggressive blitz style defense.
“He showed up in the backfield putting pressure on the quarterback, in coverage, in the return game on special teams, in the cover game on special teams in kickoff, Harbaugh said of Peppers at his weekly press conference today.
“He was up there tied for the most plays in the game,” Harbaugh added. “You don’t have to convince me, I’m all for Jabrill doing more.”
McCray didn’t just a tad more than Peppers, in fact, he was named Big Ten defensive player of the week for his effort, all while finishing with a team-high nine tackles and two sacks.
“He was good,” Harbaugh said of McCray. “Outstanding tackles for loss, sacks, pressures, he was our defensive most valuable player of the game, got the most helmet stickers, another indication of really good play. He’s been consistently good all throughout training camp, spring practice, top performer on defense for us.”
With Bryan Mone and Taco Charlton out this week, Harbaugh said it was “possible” you could see freshman lineman Michael Onwenu, all 6-foot-3, 350-pounds of him, play more on the defensive side of the ball against UCF.
“He played well,” Harbaugh said of Onwenu. “He played more snaps on offense. But he’s somebody who played in the game, played well, stood out as a very good player in the game.”
No. 7 Michigan (1-0) will play host to UCF (1-0) this Saturday at 12:06 p.m.