The Wolverine

January 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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36 THE WOLVERINE JANUARY 2017   MICHIGAN FOOTBALL regular-season-ending loss at Ohio State, Harbaugh channeled Sir Andrew Barton, noting his team would rise to fight again: He enthusiastically endorsed Ren- egade, the Appaloosa horse that gal- lops onto the field before Seminoles games with Osceola, representing the Seminole historical leader of the same name, firing a spear into the ground. "I'm going to get some chills, I know, when the Appaloosa comes riding out there," the Michigan coach assured. Harbaugh asked if it was happening, and when Fisher replied, "I guess — if the bowl allows it," the U-M coach re- sponded: "Well, you have our permis- sion. I want to see it. That is one of the coolest things." He went on to discuss seeing the ocean for the first time and encoun- tering a palm tree during the Orange Bowl that concluded the 1975 season, when his father was on the U-M staff. "We worked for hours to try to get a coconut out of the tree," he said. "We tried climbing, then we tried climbing and getting sticks, we tried shaking it, and finally we just threw rocks at it until it came down. "We got it, and we didn't know how to open it. We got it open, with rocks and a curb … and then we ate it. … That was one of life's memories." JABRILL PEPPERS HASN'T DECIDED ON HIS IMMEDIATE FUTURE Michigan redshirt sophomore Jabrill Peppers, the fifth finalist for the Heis- man Trophy in U-M history, hinted he might want to try for the award again. He told the Big Ten Network after the ceremony he wished he could try again. "I hope I can," he added. Earlier, he told nationally syndicated radio host Dan Patrick why he might come back. Patrick wasn't buying it, introducing Peppers as "someone who will be playing in the NFL next year," but Peppers didn't hesitate when asked why he'd even consider coming back. "To get a degree … to try to finish some unfinished things here, to keep getting better at my craft," Peppers said. "I don't know, man. I've got a tough decision to make." Peppers said he saw himself as a "safety or a moneybacker" in the NFL. And even though Peppers' mother has already reportedly started sending questionnaires to agents, Peppers has continued to insist he doesn't know what he'll do. PEPPERS, BUTT, LEWIS LEAD MICHIGAN'S ALL-BIG TEN CONTINGENT Michigan do-everything redshirt sophomore Jabrill Peppers finished the Heisman Trophy race with 208 votes and placed fifth behind fellow finalists Lamar Jackson (2,144), Deshaun Wat- son (1,524), Baker Mayfield (361) and Dede Westbrook (209) in the Heisman Trophy voting. Peppers is the first Michigan player to finish in the top 10 of the voting since quarterback Denard Robinson finished sixth in 2010. He is also the first top-five finisher for the program since tailback Mike Hart placed fifth following the 2006 season. This is the 28th time in the 80-year history of the Heisman Trophy that a Michigan player has finished in the top 12 of the final balloting. Michigan's Charles Woodson is the only primarily defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy, claiming college football's most coveted honor in 1997. Peppers is also the Big Ten Nagur- ski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year. He became the fourth Wolverine to claim Defensive Player of the Year honors. He ranked third in the Big Ten with 16 tackles for loss before the start of bowl season. Peppers also won the Big Ten's Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year Award and the Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year honor, becoming the first player in Big Ten history to collect three individual hon- ors since the conference expanded its individual award recognition program in 2011. He earned All-Big Ten first-team honors at linebacker and in the return game, posting 21 punt returns for 310 yards (14.8-yard average) and one touchdown plus 10 kickoff returns for 260 yards (26.0-yard average). Cornerback Jourdan Lewis was named the Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year. Also a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is annually given to the nation's top defensive back, the senior has been targeted 31 times, allowing 74 yards, with 14 total yards after catch and 0.36 yards per snap in coverage. He notched 12 passes broken up to eight receptions allowed and contributed 23 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions and 10 pass breakups this season. Defensively, Peppers, Lewis and se- nior defensive end Taco Charlton were named first-team All-Big Ten on the coaches' and media ballots. Fifth-year senior defensive end Chris Wormley earned first-team accolades on the coaches' ballot and earned second- team honors from the media. Charlton led the team with 8.5 sacks, followed by Wormley in second with six sacks. The bookend defenders combined for 77 stops, including 20 behind the line of scrimmage. Fifth-year senior defensive tackle Ryan Glasgow and senior cornerback Channing Stribling were selected second-team All-Big Ten on both the media and coaches' ballots. Glasgow posted a career-best 39 tackles, 9.5 tack- les for loss, four sacks, one pass broken up and one forced fumble this season. Stribling led the Big Ten in confer- ence play with 14 passes defended, which would tie for the sixth most in a single season at U-M. He led the Wol- verines in interceptions (four) and total passes broken up (16 for fourth-best in school history) while registering 27 tackles, three tackles for loss and one sack. The team's leading tackler, senior linebacker Ben Gedeon, earned second- team honors from the media and third- Senior cornerback Jourdan Lewis was one of five Wolverines to earn unanimous All-Big Ten first-team laurels. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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