The Wolverine

January 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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JANUARY 2017 THE WOLVERINE 9 O n Dec. 14, the American Football Coaches Associa- tion made it unanimous among the major outlets granting All- America status: redshirt sopho- more linebacker Jabrill Peppers is everybody's (first-team) All- American. Peppers made the AFCA first team, along with senior corner- back Jourdan Lewis and senior tight end Jake Butt. Fifth-year se- nior offensive lineman Kyle Kalis earned second-team honors from the AFCA. Peppers becomes the 24th Michigan player in history to earn unanimous All-America recog- nition and just the second line- backer to do so. It's been done 26 times, with wide receiver An- thony Carter and defensive back Tripp Melbourne each securing unani- mous All-America recognition twice. By way of earning a quartet of first-team honors from the five major outlets, Lewis became a consensus All-American, giving the Wolverines multiple such honorees for the first time since 2006. Here's a Michigan first-team run- down of the big five, as far as All- America honors: Sporting News: Peppers and Lewis Walter Camp Football Foundation: Peppers, Butt and Lewis Associated Press: Peppers and Lewis Football Writers Association of America: Peppers American Football Coaches Asso- ciation: Peppers, Lewis and Butt Sporting News also placed Butt and fifth-year senior defensive end Chris Wormley on its second team. The As- sociated Press designated Butt as a sec- ond-team performer as well, while the FWAA bestowed second-team honors on Lewis. Butt, who also earned All-America laurels last season, earned the John Mackey Award as the top tight end in the nation. He heads into the Orange Bowl with 43 catches for 518 yards and four touchdowns. He's Michigan's all- time leader among tight ends for recep- tions and receiving yards. Butt is one of only six tight ends in the history of Michigan football to top the 1,000-yard mark in receiving. He caught 135 passes over the course of his career for 1,618 yards and 11 touch- downs. Peppers played 15 different positions for the Wolverines this season, earning him the Paul Hornung Award, going annually to the nation's most versatile player. Peppers also became a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, among several other national awards. He finished fifth in the Heisman balloting. Peppers posted 72 tackles in the regular season, along with averaging 12.3 yards every time he touched the football. He recorded 16 tackles for loss this year, moving up closer to the line of scrimmage in defensive coordina- tor Don Brown's deployment. He also recorded his first career inter- ception in the Ohio State game. Additionally, Peppers returned 21 punts for an average of 14.8 yards per return, scoring one touchdown. He brought back 10 kickoffs for an average of 26.0 yards per return. Peppers also scored three rushing touchdowns, gaining 167 yards on 27 tries as an offensive back. The two-time All-American Lewis was targeted only 31 times all season, allowing just eight re- ceptions for 74 yards. He wound up with a pair of interceptions, along with 10 passes broken up, boosting his career total in the lat- ter category to 44, a U-M record. All three represented Michigan at ESPN's Home Depot College Football Awards Show Dec. 8. HARBAUGH HINTS AT FUTURE DURING FOOTBALL BUST Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh offered plenty at Michigan's Dec. 13 Football Bust in Livonia, assuring he's staying put as the Wolverines' head coach. But he hinted at more, in terms of personnel. In announcing the players' vote of redshirt sophomore linebacker Jabrill Peppers as team MVP, Harbaugh noted: "He will be a tremendous pro football player." Peppers had not announced his pos- sible NFL intentions as of Dec. 14, but a report surfaced about his mother po- tentially searching for agents for her son. Sports attorney Darren Heitner tweeted she was requiring agents to complete a 41-question document, Heitner citing football agent website Harbaugh dealt directly with some circumstances, laughingly urging the packed crowd at Laurel Manor to text Inside Michigan ATHLETICS Peppers, Lewis Head List Of All-Americans According to Pro Football Focus, senior cornerback Jourdan Lewis allowed a completion percentage of just 29.4 on passes thrown his way, which ranked third nationally. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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