The Wolverine

March 2014

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 29 of 213

BY JOHN BORTON I n 25 years of National Signing Day assessments by The Wol- verine, never have there been fewer newly minted Wolverines to discuss than in 2014. That doesn't mean Brady Hoke's "Sweet 16" can't blend in and continue boosting Mich- igan's football fortunes. Hoke knew the Wolverines came into the recruiting year with limited scholarships to give out. That put the onus on those in the selection process, to choose wisely. "As you go through the process and the evaluation, you want to make sure, because you've got to be right," Hoke acknowledged. "What our coaches have done and what we've done, when you look at needs for next year, or two years from now, the numbers that we used and how we came up with it really fits what we wanted to do." Headliner Jabrill Peppers fits what any program wants to do. The 6-1, 210-pound defensive back out of Paramus, N.J., is the No. 1 prep cor- nerback in the nation and the third- best high school performer at any position, according to Peppers is expected to come in and challenge for playing time immedi- ately in Michigan's secondary. He could also do a whole lot more, harkening back to a certain standout cornerback of the mid-1990s. Let's not rush matters in the hype ma- chine, though, Hoke cautioned. "His attitude is excellent," Hoke stressed. "He's been gifted athleti- cally. His competitive nature is an- other part of it. "Let's get him in here and let him be a corner for a while. Let him get acclimated to everything about col- lege football. Do I think he's very talented? There's no question. Can he return kicks? Yeah. I don't think there's any doubt about it. "Could there be a plan for him somewhere offensively? There could be. But let's let the kid walk on cam- pus, go to a class during the summer and be a freshman. Let what he does speak for itself." Peppers certainly represents the shiniest jewel in Michigan's class of 2014. He committed to the Wolver- ines last May and faced a few chal- COMPACT CREW The Wolverines Sign 16, Including Difference-Makers

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