The Wolverine

September 2014

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 43 of 148

BY JOHN BORTON T hese aren't easy days for Michigan freshman defen- sive back Jabrill Peppers, or those talking about him. The former has to prove himself in a fall camp grind where press clippings are as useless as cardboard helmets, and the latter don't want to oversell or put undue pressure on him. He's certainly one of the most talked about incoming freshmen ever to pull on a winged helmet. Everybody's five- star prep athlete, Peppers has been spotlighted as one of the best, if not the best, in the national recruiting class of 2014. Now, as they say, it gets real. Now Peppers is competing in his first fall camp, among defenders not willing to easily surrender a spot, and receivers determined to welcome him with a burn and a smirk. He's scram- bling to learn Michigan's defense, and his potential role in it. Meanwhile, Michigan head coach Brady Hoke would love to keep a lid on all the Peppers palaver, even though he knows it's an ultimately fu- tile endeavor. "The one thing about Jabrill, he is an unbelievably grounded young man," Hoke stressed. "You're recruiting guys, and [he's] the best player in the coun- try on defense or whatever things are attached. "Are we excited about him being a Wolverine? No doubt about it. Are we excited about what we'll be able to see in the next couple of weeks? No doubt about it. "I don't know if it's fair for an 18-year-old or 17-year-old … to say he's going to do this and be that. I don't think that's fair." That means Hoke isn't about to feed the hype train, especially early in the process. "Am I going to be out front with him and shield him from the pressure that he could put on himself? No ques- tion," Hoke said. "He's not going to talk to the media a lot, I can promise you that. I want the kid to be a student- athlete at Michigan." Others are talking, although Pep- HOT PEPPERS How Much, How Soon For True Freshman Jabrill Peppers? DIGITAL BONUS: CLICK ICON TO PLAY/STOP THE PODCAST Former Michigan safety Marcus Ray comments on the impact and opportunity ahead for true freshman defensive back Jabrill Peppers.

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