The Wolverine

November 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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NOVEMBER 2016 THE WOLVERINE 25 at the Under Armour game. That was my first taste of Rashan. I've been impressed with him ever since." When he knew they were both go- ing to be wearing the winged helmet, Bredeson reacted precisely the way many followers of Michigan recruit- ing did. "I was ecstatic when he came, jumping off the walls in my high school on signing day when I heard he was coming," Bredeson noted. "I'm really excited for our next few years together here." At the other end of the eligibility spectrum, senior tight end and team captain Jake Butt foresees plenty of good times ahead, even when he be- comes another former player looking on. "When they're coming in, Rashan, [freshman tight end] Devin Asiasi, [freshman running back] Chris Evans and some of these other guys that are playing, the speed of the game is night and day from what they're used to," Butt pointed out. "And not just the speed of the game, but now you have a playbook three or four times as big as what you did in high school. You have to learn that and be able to execute it against tougher and tougher competition each and every week. "To see some of these guys execut- ing it at a high level, it's special to see. I'm excited for those guys." As for Gary in particular, Butt knows there's an "it factor" that can- not be ignored. "We all see his size — that's obvi- ous," Butt said. "You look at him and you see NFL size coming out of high school. But his speed, quickness, power off the ball and his football instinct — that's something you re- ally can't teach. It's great that he has that because that adds a whole other element to his game." Gary doesn't intend to let anything slide, or to become another casualty moving from prep five-stardom to a cautionary tale for recruiting service detractors. No, he just plans to get better, with a nod to what can be, and to mom. "Being top ranked just made me want to work harder," Gary said. "I just knew there was someone out there working hard, wanting to be in my spot. God blessed me with this spot, and I'm just going to keep on working to keep it." ❏ Five Years Of Five Stars Michigan experienced some five-star recruiting at times over the past several seasons, even though some of those years opened the door for the Jim Har- baugh era. The cupboard wasn't empty before Harbaugh arrived, and won't be anytime soon. Here's a look back at the Rivals five-star talent that has been on the Michigan roster over the last handful of years, and how it panned out. LB Jabrill Peppers (2014) — Part of Michigan's New Jersey breakthrough, Peppers seems to be working out fairly well for the Wolverines. He earned 2015 Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors as a redshirt frosh last season, along with garnering first-team All-Big Ten defensive recognition, as well as 2015 second- team All-America notice by CBS Sports, Sports Illustrated and Sporting News. His flying start this season has him featured on defense, offense and special teams, with a pair of rushing touchdowns in Michigan's win over Rutgers. Har- baugh put his stamp of approval on afterwards, saying Peppers should win the Heisman Trophy. RB Derrick Green (2013) — Green, out of Richmond, Va., struggled to live up to his five-star billing in an abbreviated stint at Michigan. In three seasons, he rushed for 898 yards on 212 attempts, averaging 4.2 yards per carry and scoring seven rushing touchdowns. With an array of talented running backs coming to Ann Arbor, Green opted to transfer to TCU for a final season. Through the Horned Frogs' first six games, Green rushed 24 times for 92 yards and one touchdown, averaging 3.8 yards per carry. DT Ondre Pipkins (2012) — Pipkins, a five-star prep performer out of Kansas City, played three injury-hampered seasons with the Wolverines. Over that pe- riod, he recorded 23 tackles, including one for loss, and appeared in 13 games, including three Big Ten contests. Pipkins transferred to Texas Tech and posted 14 tackles (three for loss) through six games for the Red Raiders through the first half of the 2016 regular season. OL Kyle Kalis (2012) — The fifth-year senior right guard for the Wolverines is a four-year starter, having appeared in 43 contests for Michigan through the 2016 bye week. He made the All-Big Ten Freshman Team as a redshirt frosh in 2013, and earned 2015 recognition as a third-team All-Big Ten performer from the media and honorable mention from the coaches. Kalis is a key cog for a Michigan offense that went into the second half of the season ranked No. 15 in the nation for rushing productivity. The Wolverines aver- aged 255.0 yards per game on the ground through their first six games, bolstered by the recent 481-yard effort against Rutgers. — John Borton Redshirt sophomore linebacker Jabrill Peppers has established himself as a Heisman Trophy candidate with his play on offense, defense and special teams this season. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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