The Heisman hype surrounding Michigan do-it-all player Jabrill Peppers doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon.
It seems every week that a new headline shows up around the country that mentions Peppers' name as someone who could be considered a candidate for an invite to New York City at the end of the season.
However, despite all of the outside noise, it appears to be deflecting right off Peppers as he says he is not paying any attention to the hype. Either that or he's doing a pretty good job of pretending.
"I don't really pay attention to [the hype,]" Peppers said. "All recognition is good recognition but the [Heisman Trophy] is an offensive award and I'm just trying to play the best ball I can play. Everything else will fall into place, I'll take wins over the Heisman any day. That's just my opinion."
If anyone should know about defensive players winning the Heisman, it should be those who play for the U-M football program. Cornerback/wide receiver/kick returner Charles Woodson won the trophy in 1997 and is the only defensive player in college football history to win the award.
While Peppers' argument about the trophy is factually correct, the committee could consider a defensive player that is versatile on the football field. While Peppers himself is arguably the most versatile player in the country, he listed someone else that should be in the Heisman conversation if versatility plays a deciding factor into who wins the award this year.
"If you look at it, how many defensive players have won it? Just one," Peppers said. "I'm not really worried about the hype to be honest. They're talking about versatility, if you're talking about versatility I'd say Adoree' Jackson out of USC. If you check his resume, he's doing a damn good job for his squad. They haven't been winning as much as he'd like to, but I think he should be in the Heisman race if people are saying I should be. That's just my opinion."
The national and local media aren't the only outlets propping Peppers up as a Heisman candidate. After the Wolverines' victory over Rutgers two weeks ago, his head coach, Jim Harbaugh, offered Peppers praise. Going as far as to say that Peppers is a Heisman candidate and winner.
For Peppers, he realizes Harbaugh's words carry weight. Despite all of that, he says the team has a football game to play on Saturday.
"That definitely means a lot coming from a guy like Harbaugh," Peppers said. "At the end of the day you can't get caught in what people are saying about you, both good or bad. You've got to stay 10 toes down and keep improving every week. We have Illinois this week and we just came off a bye week, our bodies feel better than ever and we've had an extra week to prepare. Whatever happens, happens and I'm going to make sure I do my due diligence to help my team win ball games."null