Jabrill Peppers was absent from Michigan’s final game of the 2016 season and, predictably, the internet erupted as a result. Before that, however, Peppers did enough to be named a finalist for the Heisman Trophy and was, at minimum, one of the best players on a very dynamic team for the Wolverines.
With that in mind, Peppers is headed to the next level, where he is projected to be a (very) high selection in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Peppers joined forces with Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated to make his announcement, and he shed a bit of light on his decision-making process.
“It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I’m choosing between cementing my legacy as a college player and starting my pro legacy. It’s something you dream of when you were a kid. I was torn between the two.”
While he is a divisive NFL prospect in some ways, Peppers is widely seen as a first-round selection that could go within the top 10 picks. He famously made the transition from cornerback (in high school) to safety to linebacker over the past few seasons, and Peppers’ brings a ton of versatility to the table as a dynamic player with the ball in his hands offensively and in the return game. While his lack of a traditional position could be seen as a knock, the NFL has moved toward more multi-dimensional players in the recent past and that could be seen as a plus for Peppers’ stock.
This announcement does not come as a surprise given his pedigree, but Michigan will surely feel the loss of its most dynamic player for 2017 and beyond. What Jim Harbaugh will do in response will be interesting, but Jabrill Peppers will be a prominent name between now and the NFL Draft.