The Wolverine

February 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 17 of 75

18 THE WOLVERINE FEBRUARY 2017 BY JOHN BORTON H e couldn't perform in Michi- gan's final game of the sea- son, producing tears in the locker room. Redshirt soph- omore linebacker Jabrill Peppers still delivered enough this season to wear the figurative No. 1 jersey in any clear- eyed perspective. Peppers wound up fifth in the Heis- man Trophy voting and was named a unanimous All-American. He earned a Big Ten triple crown of sorts: Nagur- ski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year, Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year and Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year. "The best player in college football — and we can have that discussion all day," Michigan defensive coordina- tor Don Brown insisted prior to the Orange Bowl. "We can put him in the rush, I can substitute him to be on any guy I want him on or he can be part of the coverage equation we employ. "We have four or five concepts where he's aligned on different guys. It's huge. The nice part about it is, you don't have to substitute to get it done. You just make the call, and all of a sud- den he's over there or he's over there … that's the flexibility he gives you. "It's not like the offense can say, 'Oh, they just subbed Peppers, so that means he'll be here.' We do a lot of stuff with him. Sometimes, it's criminal. There's a lot of concepts this guy has to learn, and he just handles it with ease." Peppers announced his intentions to bypass his final two years of eligibility THE FINAL SHAKEOUT Jabrill Peppers Stays Atop Michigan's Best 25 For 2016

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