Peoples-Jones adjusts to college competition

Donovan Peoples-Jones is embracing his opportunity to compete while making adjustments to college life as a freshman at Michigan.

Just four months into his college career, Michigan freshman wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones continues to make adjustments on and off the field.

His first adjustment, for obvious reasons, is getting used to the higher level of competition. No longer is Peoples-Jones the dominant player he was in high school at Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech, where he finished his career as state champion, five-star prospect and's No. 1 ranked WR in the 2017 class.

Though, his talent is legitimate. He's fast, strong, and can out jump defenders, that's for certain.

High school days are over, and Peoples-Jones is noticing that his fellow teammates rival his own skill-set. 

“Physically everybody is a little but quicker and a little bit stronger,” Peoples-Jones said, who stands at 6-foot-2.5, 190-pounds. “But that’s just something I have to adjust to while I work on my quickness and work on my strength.”

Michigan’s coaching staff is doing their part on getting him ready to play, too. And even though he didn't practice on Thursday (trainers decision), he did participate in U-M's final two practices of the spring. 

“It’s just been a gradual transition into it,” he said. “The coaches have done a good job of coaching me up, helping me understand the game before I hit the field. I kind of already knew it and expected it.”

But other than playing and learning football, Peoples-Jones admits he's mostly just getting used to college life as a freshman. 

“Just balancing it all,” he said. “Here you got football, school, a lot of extra curricular (activities), a lot of studies outside of school. A lot of work to be done on football outside of football practice, budgeting your money, you’re living on your own making sure you have washing stuff, making sure you have enough toothpaste. Just little stuff like that, (which) my mom took care of back at home is different. You got to be on top of everything.”

A huge benefit for Peoples-Jones is having familiar faces around the program. His roommate is fellow early-enrolled freshman, Tarik Black, who he was friends with before he came to Michigan. He's also close with fellow Detroit natives, Jaylen Kelly-Powell (his high school teammate) and Ambry Thomas, who joined him at U-M this January. 

“That was real easy, someone to connect to,” he said. “Obviously me and Tarik are roommates and we were friends before that. My friendship with Ambry (Thomas) and Jaylen (Kelly-Powell), it kind of affected Tarik too, because he’s always with me, so he’s always with those guys. It just feels like a family bond.”

And while Peoples-Jones is competing with Black for playing time, he say’s it’s more of a benefit to have teammate who shares his views on competition.

“It’s a blessing to have others who share the same mindset as me,” he said. “It’s like iron sharpens iron. You can’t sharpen an iron with a paper towel. You can sharpen an iron with an iron. Two minds that think alike, you’re definitely going to get better.”

In the meantime, Peoples-Jones says his focus is to get gradually better everyday this summer. 

“I’m not going to talk about specifics, but just a gradual increase, one percent better everyday, that’s my priority,” he said. “Working on everything everyday, that’s got to come, but to get better at it everyday. You just can’t work on it with bad technique. You just can’t work on it doing it the wrong way. You got to work on where you are getting better at it the next day.”


The Michigan Insider Top Stories