We got a recruit. Like a GOOD recruit. Like the best recruit we've ever got, in the if-he-stays-ranked-as-high-as-he-is-in-May kind of way.
How do we feel about this? Happy right? Extraordinarily happy? Off the roof happy? Roses in our teeth happy? Really really really happy?
Like, the scouting reports are nudging you toward "2016 Heisman!!!" happiness. But then the Buckeyes in your life are reminding you that it's an aggregate science, not an exact one—and oh yeah in ur cass, stealin ur non-smurf dude. And your Sparty co-workers and family members are all reminding you that recruiting ratings don't matter nearly as much as how good your school is at developing players (and exciting new types of dirt). And your brain is like "there's only ever been between four and zero humans in the last 70 years as good at cornerback as HIM."
Alas, you're a Michigan fan, meaning even in moments like these you can never shut these people up. So let's try to come up with a reasonable level of expectation by peering into the careers of the few other consensus 5-star corners in the history of recruiting databases.
Class: 2002. School: Texas. Ht/Wt: 5'10/190. Rankings: #3 CB (after Leon Washington & Devin Hester) to Rivals, #3 CB (Hester, A.J. Davis) to Scout.
Other Suitors: Texas A&M,Miami (YTM), Nebraska, Oklahoma, Michigan State.
Scouting Report: Speed in buckets; one of the fastest-ever high school players in the country. Also a great running back and accomplished track star. Academic and behavioral red flags: has 'em.
College Career: Started immediately at nickel back and kickoff returner. Was caught with pot with a big group of teammate but the case was dismissed. Academic problems forced him to sit out his sophomore year and finally get dismissed from the team, transferring first to a junior college and then signing a letter of intent to play for Oregon State. However he couldn't get academically eligible there either so he stayed at his JC in '05 then went pro.
Pro Career: Signed with Jacksonville as a free agent in '06, released in preseason. Appeared on NFL Europe teams and most recently signed with an IFL team in 2010.
Applicability to Jabrill: Track star and standout running back in high school. McCullough's best 100-meter was a 10.32 (versus Jabrill's 10.83) and Edorian's 21.0 in the 200 meters would easily be the record in New Jersey, where Peppers came close with a 21.37. Peppers is fast but probably not Edorian McCullough fast. Edorian was a pure cover corner and sized like one—his Scout report said he was 5'9, though he appeared on Rivals and on the Texas roster as 5'11. Had a 30" vertical, which is just okay. The academic problems that sank him are the opposite for Jabrill, who wants to be an orthopedic surgeon and has a 3.9 GPA. Notably, nobody called McCullough "aggressive"—he was an okay high school tackler rated highly for his Deion-like skills.
[Hit the jump for the others]
Class: 2002, reclassified to 2003. School: Miami (YTM). Ht/Wt: 5'11/180. Rankings: #2 CB to Rivals, #1 CB to Scout.
Other Suitors: Florida State, Georgia, NC State, Purdue.
Scouting Report: Speed and athleticism in surreal levels—nickname was "Sugar Foot." Ridiculous highlight reel of Hester returning kicks and leaving man coverage to make an interception on the other side of the field. Also considered a top talent at receiver or running back. Had a troubled family history but appeared mature beyond his years and sought mentors from the professional ranks, specifically Deion Sanders.
College Career: Immediate star at returner, played both cornerback and wide receiver. His junior year he was used all over the place but didn't particularly stand out beyond his returning skills—he had more carries (24) in his career than catches (10) despite being listed as a receiver the whole time. Played dime back and gathered 4 interceptions as a sophomore, and had 11 tackles, an INT and a sack as a nickel his junior year. Went pro after his junior season.
Pro Career: Drafted by the Bears in the 2nd round as a cornerback/return specialist and became an immediate star as a return specialist—didn't really do much else. Returned the opening kickoff of the Superbowl for a touchdown, though he fumbled a lot too. Carved out a career as the greatest punt returner in NFL history but a guy who still doesn't figure much outside of special teams.
Applicability to Jabrill: Peppers is a running back/returner/receiver prospect as well but not very Hester-like. The difference between them is exactly that between their respective idols—Peppers as a proto-No. 2 versus Hester the Deion Sanders acolyte. Hester had a 38-inch vertical and clocked the 4.33 forty that inadvertently started a wave of FAKEs to that level; while Jabrill can get that high with his added height, he won't be that fast. Hester is instructive because he's a high-quality individual with a good work ethic who just never managed to learn to apply his unreal talent to cornerback. If you're comparing highlight reels though, notice the big things always happened when Hester had an open field—interceptions came from QBs throwing total ducks and tackles were the "throws his body at a guy" variety.
Class: 2004. School: Ohio State. Ht/Wt: 6'0/170. Rankings: #1 CB and #2 overall player to Rivals, #1 CB to Scout.
Other Suitors: Well like Michigan and USC and everybody offered but Ted Ginn's kid was the most mortal lock for anything since the Wisterts had a little brother.
Scouting Report: Neck and neck with Adrian Peterson for best recruit in the country. The son and namesake of Glennville's coach was an all-around athlete and track star, breaking regional records in the 110H, 200H, and was considered a potential Olympian in track (though Morgan Trent beat him in the 200 meter). Considered the best cornerback prospect in Ohio since THAT cornerback from Ohio, and thus drew those comparisons, though the rail-thin Ginn was considered more on the coverage side of that scale. National player of the year. Also considered a potential star at WR and kick returner. Diagnosed with a learning disability though managed to overcome that with the help of tutors to graduate high school with honors.
College Career: Was supposed to be Gamble's heir apparent and as a freshman Ginn succeeded the former consensus 5-star…at receiver. He started at receiver and cornerback, the former more often than the latter, and had 803 yards on 51 receptions as a sophomore to enter his junior season as a Heisman candidate alongside teammate and eventual winner Troy Smith. He was first team All-American either as a returner or "All-Purpose Player" all three years he played, and bypassed his senior year to enter the NFL draft despite being injured in the championship game that year.
Pro Career: Drafted 9th overall by the Dolphins. He was up to 188 lbs and listed at 5'11 at the NFL Combine—there he reported a totally FAKE 4.28 forty at Ohio State. They used him mostly as a returner and receiver, though his drops got him benched and eventually traded to the 49ers, who used him as a return specialist and occasional offensive weapon. Recently signed with the Panthers.
Applicability to Jabrill: Another super athlete projected to big things at cornerback, but ended up mostly a return specialist, albeit a pretty darn good one. I won't repeat all the Hester stuff except to say here is a very similar type of recruit who became a very similar type of player. Notice in both the scouting reports stick to the ridiculous athletic ability. That's a big deal for cornerbacks, but the fact that neither Hester nor Ginn became great ones demonstrates there's a lot more than hip flex and explosive speed to this position.
Class: 2005. School: Penn State. Ht/Wt: 6'0/183. Rankings: #1 CB and #19 overall player to Rivals, #2 CB to Scout.
Other Suitors: I don't want to talk about it.
Scouting Report: Early riser on everyone's list since sophomore year. Top RB in the state. Michigan wanted him about as badly as anybody I can remember since I started following recruiting. Finalist for national player of the year. Lived on top-rate recovery/closing speed. Wanted playing time. Nearly committed to Florida but didn't because Ron Zook was fired. Not considered an academic risk.
College Career: Played at nickel and spot running back right away and was starting at corner by his sophomore year, when he was second team all-conference. Was considered one of the better but hardly an elite corner by his junior year, after which he finished his degree early and declared for the NFL draft.
Pro Career: Measured at 5'11/192 at combine but was the fastest defensive back there and was drafted by the Rams in the 4th round. He lost his rookie season to injury, and never cracked the Rams depth chart, bouncing around since as roster depth in Indianapolis and Pittsburgh.
Applicability to Jabrill: Again we're looking at a cover corner whose ratings are tied to his straight-up speed and ups (37.5 inch vertical). We're seeing a theme of these guys—shared by Jabrill—of dominance versus high school competition that is extra apparent when used on offense and returns. Given the depth charts Michigan faced from 2005 to 2008 at defensive back we really could have used this guy. Among this group however, he's pretty much the low bar for on-field expectations.
Class: 2005. School: Tennessee. Ht/Wt: 6'0/176. Rankings: #2 CB and #21 overall player to Rivals, #1 CB to Scout.
Other Suitors: Michigan, USC, Florida State, Georgia, Oklahoma (in that order).
Scouting Report: Opposite of classmate King—was a guy who emerged late and shot up the rankings at camps after suddenly posting a much faster forty time than he had previously. Considered a hard hitter who may grow into a safety.
College Career: Tennessee notably listed him as 6'2, and played him beginning in October of his freshman year at nickel and safety. Hype peaked when he was making plays in spring of '06 and he gave quotes suggesting he might play receiver too. Founding contributor to the Fulmer Cup. He played strong (deep in that defense) safety his sophomore year as an injury starter but was dismissed for academic reasons. After a year in JUCO he later was readmitted and rejoined the team but was dismissed again after being involved in a robbery and then not showing up to practices under new coach Lane Kiffin. Revealed to be among a group of S Florida recruits to have come from a "diploma mill" exposed by the NYTimes.
In retrospect, he would likely have been DNQ'ed the same way Dorsey was if he'd committed Michigan. Carr failed to do his homework here.
Pro Career: Not drafted after apparently giving up football, but got back in shape and played in the CFL in 2011 and 2012.
Applicability to Jabrill: Here's a guy who measures a bit more like Peppers, though Jabrill is already much bigger than Morley was at this point. Note again the early play at nickel and dime. Morley's potential seemed to be there but he was also a poster child for the kind of recruit for whom the college part is just some antiquated requirement for playing football.
Class: 2007. School: Tennessee. Ht/Wt: 6'0/194. Rankings: #1 CB and #3 overall player to Rivals, #1 CB and #10 overall player to Scout.
Other Suitors: Auburn, Georgia, USC, Ohio State, Florida, Miami (YTM)
Scouting Report: A high school wildcat QB and one of the best athletes in the short history of recruiting (bench 315, squat 560, vertical 37.5"—though Rivals listed that at 32"). Scout's listed strengths were burst out of breaks, closing speed and size; his area of improvement was instincts. His position was listed as CB but was kind of unknown—he was considered a top receiver and possible spread QB. Raw raw raw but with upside off the charts. Academics and personality were strengths—GPA and test scores were on par with the average Michigan State freshman (that means it's good you jerks. I'm telling mom!).
College Career: Played immediately as a nickel and then starting safety his freshman year en route to conference freshman of the year honors. Named team captain as a sophomore, playing a little receiver and quarterback in addition to being basically Ed Reed at free safety. All-American as a sophomore and junior, when he won the Thorpe award and garnered enough Heisman chatter to twist Vols fans into knots about the whole "not an award for defensive backs" thing. Also subject of the original "Our Guy for Heisman Because Cheerleaders Have Boobs" video:
Jabrill won't need to bring in a ringer when it comes to this.
Pro Career: Decided to forego senior year, drafted 5th overall by K.C. Chiefs. First rookie to be selected to the Pro Bowl since Derrick Thomas, and been that every year since except the year he tore his ACL. On track to be among the best safeties of his era.
Applicability to Jabrill: Closest match yet—high school quarterback and standout citizen with off the charts athleticism who projects to corner or safety in college, except Peppers will have far more experience as a defensive back, and instincts are considered a strength for Jabrill already. Peppers is two ticks larger than Berry was at this age, and about two ticks down in straight-up speed. Note of course that we're expecting Peppers to be the boundary corner. Berry would make a fine cornerback too, but in the "get me an Ed Reed!" NFL mixed quarters defenses of today, Berry's excellent combination of play diagnosis, athleticism and tackling make him more impactful as a safety.
Class: 2008. School: LSU. Ht/Wt: 6'1/197. Rankings: #1 CB and #5 overall player to Rivals, #1 CB to Scout. #1 CB and #8 overall player to ESPN.
Other Suitors: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, FSU, committed to then dropped Miami (YTM)
Scouting Report: Played mostly cornerback, but also used as running back and occasional QB. Cited for exceptional ball skills, athleticism, and 1-on-1 cover ability. Was basically first by a mile or no lower than third in every category they rate cornerbacks on. Scout came up with "Backpedal Quickness" as an area for improvement. Scouting reports used words like "violence" and "explodes" and "attacks" and trotted out the obvious comparisons long before Les Miles became a fountain of them. Academically somewhat of a risk—his B-minus GPA and test scores were the subjects of speculation up until he was finally enrolled right before his freshman year.
Note: was named Patrick Johnson when he was a recruit. Also was the guy who said he believed Miles was gone to Michigan, and the guy who ripped on internet message boards for posting rumors that he wasn't very firm to Miami, right up until he decommitted from Miami.
College Career: Played immediately as a nickel and had won the starting cornerback job by the last third of his freshman year. Caught that interception against Alabama everybody believed was good but they didn't overturn. Was a sophomore all-SEC and 2nd team All-American, and a Heisman candidate his senior year (helped along by his pose). LSU tried to get him in as a receiver or running back/wildcat QB; he didn't get invited to the Heisman ceremony but was a unanimous All-American before going pro early. Considered one of the best corners in SEC history (this is the conference with Champ Bailey remember!) and perhaps the best tackler.
Pro Career: Selected 5th overall by the Arizona Cardinals. Posted the fastest forty time (4.34) of anyone at the combine. Selected as an all-pro his rookie year as a return specialist and made it into the Pro Bowl in 2012 at cornerback with 55 tackles and 7 interceptions.
Applicability to Jabrill: YOU GUYS!!!! The comparisons here are super-duper close, from the agreement in the rankings to the "he is big and tall and in all ways awesome" scouting reports. The differences are speed—Peterson had more of it—and academics, where Peppers isn't the sort of risk that non-SEC teams need to be wary of. Peterson managed to punctuate his ratings by coming out on top of his position group in every camp and showcase game.
Class: 2009. School: Alabama. Ht/Wt: 6'2/180. Rankings: #1 CB and #11 overall player to Rivals, #5 CB to Scout. #1 CB and #4 overall player to ESPN.
Other Suitors: Florida, Texas, Florida State, LSU, Clemson, Tennessee
Scouting Report: If we own the quick comparison for corners over 6 feet who can patrol the DMZ alone and simultaneously own the edge, Kilpatrick is the other type—the kind that gets compared to Antonio Cromartie and some of the items on your bed. Dre was a cover corner dream in a rail thin 6'2 frame. Rivals and ESPN saw that and said "this guy can't miss" while Scout said he's effete—when "toughness" and "jamming ability" are your areas for improvement and then they say you're a "momentum player," they are very not subtly calling you a wuss. Bama boards suggested trying to hang 30 more pounds on him but Kirkpatrick was pretty much your ready-made range corner with low variance.
He was a cornerback first and foremost in high school, but was trotted out to be a dangerous receiver or punt returner. Rivals had him their #2 corner for ball skills and coverage ability and left him out of the top five for the other categories. ESPN praised his fundamentally perfect play. Was at times considered a personality risk and other times a leader.
College Career: Was your standard, ready-made, low-variance range corner. A reserve corner in a deep secondary his freshman year, he emerged as a lockdown man-to-man guy his sophomore year, showing off an underrated tackling ability. On the field he was the guy raising his arms to entice Tide fans to make bestial SEC noises; off it Saban supposedly had to do a lot of motivating. He became a borderline first- or second-team All-American as a junior as part of that ridiculous defense, then went pro.
Pro Career: Drafted 17th overall by the Bengals after posting a kind of eh 4.51 at the combine and being haunted by a would-be shrug-and-forget-about-it dismissed pot possession charge. Because of a preseason injury he played five games in 2012 before getting hurt again at the end of the season.
Applicability to Jabrill: I realize they're close in height but I think the comparison ends there. It's hard to come up with comparisons to Michigan corners past unless your memory of, like, Keston Cheathem is strong enough to extrapolate what he'd be like if his tools were extended to blue chip level. I won't say Jeremy LeSeuer because he didn't play with confidence, while Kirkpatrick just oozes it. Leon Hall is close enough—a great man-to-man player with tons of athleticism for his lanky body. Peppers has some size and length but I don't think his game is Dre's game—Jabrill would ideally have his nose facing the ball.
Class: 2010. School: Florida State. Ht/Wt: 5'8/ and 166 (Rivals and ESPN) or 192 (Scout). Rankings: #1 CB and #14 overall player to Rivals, #2 CB to Scout. #1 CB and #6 overall player to ESPN.
Other Suitors: Notre Dame, Ohio State, USC, Alabama, Georgia
Scouting Report: As a fan of the place where Tom Wilcher deposits most of his smurfy cornerbacks, you are already well familiar with Scout's penchant for listing "size" as an "area for improvement" and MGoBlog's penchant for pointing this out. In Joyner's case, it is too bad there isn't some kind of heightiotomy operation available since he's really more of a middle linebacker born into a tiny corner's body. Joyner played strong safety in high school but scouts admitted the little guy would have to move to the outside to cover his 5'8/166 frame. Everything else they said was off the charts, including speed, agility, and ooh ladies wait'll that shirt comes off. Joyner can jump really high and nobody breathes when he's collecting a punt, let alone jetting downfield after one.
College Career: It seems Scout was right about the 30 extra pounds, as Joyner was listed at FSU at 190 in 2010 and is now 195. He also went back to safety after a freshman season as a special teams and nickel corner. In 2011 they let him play tiny wrecking ball a la Bob Sanders or Mike Doss. He was all-ACC that last season. This offseason FSU said they'll be moving him back to corner so Karlos Williams and Terrence Brooks can play safety. This is another defense that's becoming a base nickel, by the way.
He also returns kicks and punts, and has some academic accolades to go with the growing trophy case at defensive back.
Pro Career: Joyner turned down a possible NFL draft spot to return for his senior season this year.
Applicability to Jabrill: Well our guy isn't 5'8 and nobody thinks he's 166. So yeah not much here except another projected 5-star corner who played safety in high school, played nickel and special teams as a freshman, and then seesawed Marlin Jackson style between corner and free safety.
Class: 1995. School: Michigan. Ht/Wt: 6'1/195 Rankings: Listed as the 4th best player overall and best running back by Sports Illustrated.
Other Suitors: Ohio State, Notre Dame, everybody. As a running back.
Scouting Report: Unstoppable running back (218 rushes for 2,028 yards), receiver (10 catches for 160 yards), punt returner (15 for 300 yards), and also the best tackler on the team as a cornerback and safety/rover to go with his 38 touchdowns. Those are just the senior year stats, when he was voted Ohio's Mr. Football. Started playing defense in the middle of his sophomore year (his mom kept him in freshman ball even though his coaches wanted to move him up to varsity right away). Also played basketball and ran track. Not an academic risk, according to multiple second-hands from Lloyd Carr (who apparently used this kid as the type specimen for a Michigan recruit ever after).
You heard all about this guy's rep," says teammate Carr. "I figured I'd wait and see. Then the first day upperclassmen joined practice, he's out there holding his own with Amani and Mercury. I figured, O.K., I believe."
Notice how all the other guys were nickels and special teamers who, at best, were pushing the starters by the last thirds of their freshman years? Here's a guy who arrived good enough to start on any Big Ten team, and at the end of that season was good enough to erase the best flanker in the conference. Remember how even Donovan Warren was behind the likes of Johnny Sears and Chris Richards for a time? That. Is. Normal.
Pro Career: Hall-worthy.
Applicability to Jabrill: The closest comparable really isn't. In an age that followed recruiting for one week in February, an RB from a small town in the part of Ohio that isn't even the football-rich part—especially one that wanted to play cornerback—didn't leave the global cloud of awe he would today. But then the way he hit his league you can't dig anywhere in northwest Ohio without uncovering a layer of effusive memories from people who saw him. Given the passage of time and limited historical documentation from that era, there's no way to put this recruit in appropriate context, but the limited evidence suggests he was a Tyrannosaur long before he ate Terry Glenn.
There are a bunch of other guys who've gotten one or two 5-star ratings from these three sites. Jai Eugene (Scout/ESPN), Greg Reid (Rivals/ESPN), Curtis Brown, Donovan Warren, Ronald Johnson, Darius Winston, Branden Smith, Dee Milliner, DeAnthony Thomas and Tracy Howard (Rivals/Scout) all received that fifth star from 2/3 services. But even with just the consensus dudes above, I think it paints a pretty clear picture of what we can reasonably expect from Peppers provided he hangs onto the top billing he has now:
Non-cornerback stuff is typical. All the running around with the football or ballhawking from safety seems to less a sign that the player isn't cut out for college corner, and more an indication of a high school coach who's realized he has a once-in-a-lifetime toy he wants to play with as much as possible.
Nickel and special teams duty early on. No redshirt, but neither will he be a starter right away. This is basically mandatory.
Return specialist. The guys with with immediately identifiable talent are the guys who end up really good at this on the college level. That fifth star at cornerback rarely misses here.
A possible move to free safety. It seemed to happen a lot to these guys, to good effect. The coaches may want a lockdown guy at corner but it's a lot more of a seam game than it was 15-20 years ago—in the past Michigan could usually get away with a Tommy Hendricks/DeWayne Patmon/Brandent Englemon type who did a lot of 1-high or came down into box if your corner was good enough to take away the flanker. These days there's three or four receivers in the formation as often as not and it's the teams with an Ed Reed—or instructively, Eric Berry—who can come down on the run AND cover over the top that produce dominant defenses. LSU got to leave Peterson at corner because they were stacked in the rest of the backfield, ditto Joyner's latest move. Michigan's recruiting has been good, but if we don't hit with Delano Hill, Peppers is as likely a candidate as anyone else to give us that key centerfielder.
A high likelihood of significant contribution. The above guys were mostly successful while being surrounded by lots of other talented players; the ones who washed out were academic risks, and Peppers is the opposite of that. Loads of athleticism did seem to cash in better for the big guys. Low end here is Justin King, and King was still quite valuable.
Woo. Very much Woo. Just keep in mind the Woo won't really get underway until like 2016, and that while this is just about as close to a guaranteed Woo as you can ask for in recruiting, there's still only ever been one Woo to end up with a –dson.
Great analysis, but even in a non-homerish way, I feel like he should be lumped into a list of the top 3 recruits in a given year, rather than 5 star cornerback. The top of the top of the top simply has as big a gap as the difference between a 5 star and middling 4 star.
Will Will Likely likely will his way to some decent punt returns?
Great stuff there, Seth. Typically when people compare high school recruits to college/NFL players, many assume that the one comparing is also forecasting a similar career/accolades/awards. Great job of avoiding that while also identifying trends as far as what one can reasonably expect of them in their frosh/soph years of college.
And I really appreciate the significant research you put into that, Seth. I hope the Woo-factor is worth all the electrons we've spent here on the Blog. And with the head that JP has on his shoulders, I'm confident it will be. I can't wait to see him wearing a winged helmet for realz.
“If worms had machine guns, birds would be afraid of 'em.”
Great analysis. My one quesiton is aren't you selling Pepper's speed a little short? Perhaps they aren't offical times so you can't use them, but Peppers had been tweeting out some 100m times in the 10.58ish range. Still not Denard in high school fast, but that's really getting toward the elite college straight line speed. Or he could be, you know, FAKING those times...
As an aside, it'll be interesting to watch the careers of this year's class of CB's, as well as last year's. This year, Humphrey, Brown, and Peppers I think are all consensus CBs, and last year there was Hargreaves and Fuller. I haven't varified the voracity of the above statement though, but hey, it's a blog.
Shouldn't we wait for him to complete (and, more accurately, to compete in) his senior year. You're comparing a HS junior to a bunch of HS seniors. J'real (or, J-real? J-Real? J'Real?) hasn't proven he's worthy of THAT level of praise, until he can handle it and show his capabilities for another season. He has a ton of pressure on him now, to keep performing at that level. If he can do it, he's the real deal. If he has a lesser season than last year, and slips in the rankings, then we'll all have to backtrack a bit.
I know it's pretty obvious, but I feel like we're all awarding him top props when the full body of work isn't done yet. And who knows -- maybe he ends up as the #1 recruit overall on all 5 services. Could happen!
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It seems like you haven't been paying enough attention to this junior in high school. If anything he is likely to move UP in the rankings, not down. He looks like a junior in college, not high school. I know pessimism is the name of the game around here but sometimes you just have to call a spade a holy shit what did that spade just do it's unstoppable.
"Michigan Defense" is dominating everything, in every aspect of life. That's a rough definition.
Thanks Seth, that was a great read. I especially liked the write up on that last guy. Just reading about him and seeing a picture from back in the day still gives me goose bumps and brings me back to th 1997 season.
I know the two of them are different players, but I do think Peppers can be just as big an influence on a game as Woodson was once he hits his stride at the college level. Not saying he will necessarily be THAT good, but who was? I'm just saying he looks to have the same type of ability to take over a game.
"Throughout college, Woodson was known for big plays in big moments of a game. As a freshman he had two interceptions in a victory against the #2-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. During his Heisman-winning junior year, he made an acrobatic one-handed sideline interception against the Michigan State Spartans. Woodson had two interceptions in the game. In a game against Ohio State, he returned a punt for a touchdown, made an interception in the end-zone, and had a 37-yard reception that led to Michigan's only offensive touchdown of the game. The win lifted Michigan to the Rose Bowl. Michigan played the Washington State Cougars in the Rose Bowl. Woodson recorded another end-zone interception in the game, helping Michigan defeat the Cougars and win a share of the 1997 national championship. In 2007, Woodson was ranked #11 on ESPN's Top 25 Players In College Football History list."
I'll take that again.
"Michigan Defense" is dominating everything, in every aspect of life. That's a rough definition.
D coordinator when Woodson first wore the winged helmet ..... GREG
D Coordintor when Peppers arrives .... GREG
I have ZERO worries about Jabrill getting the specific coaching to be an All American cornerback ... and don't think for a second that Brady Hoke won't use him as an offensive threat too ... AHHH Sleep well M fans, sleep well !
No place on earth I'd rather be on a football Saturday than Michigan Stadium !
I think something that is hard to measure and underrated, but was brought up by Seth, is smarts (ok, besides grades and test scores. Shut up Internet, I'm trying to make a point here). From what I've read, Woodson was and is one of the smartest football players in the game, and puts himself in position to make plays instead of relying purely on his athletic ability. We all just had three years of proof of this, as we watched Kovacs take advantage of his limited athletic ability by using his smarts to make plays and become one of the best safeties in Michigan history. If Peppers can be anywhere close to Kovacs or Woodson football smarts, and he appears to be a very smart kid, combined with his athletic ability, we should get to see some amazing things in his time in the winged helmet.
"Be excellent to each other and...party on dudes!." -Abraham Lincoln
Woodson was a combination of ability AND smarts that allowed him to make plays no one else could. Kovacs may yet carve himself an NFL career by doing super-smart things, but the super-smart things for him include taking a conservative pursuit angle because if he doesn't give the running back 5 extra yards before making the hit he'll give him the TD for free. Woodson would take that aggressive angle not because he relied purely on athletic ability, but because he knew he could.
This is kind of hard to predict, though, because a five-star talent in high school isn't exposed to the sort of mental overload that creates so many busts at the next level. I like our odds with Jabrill, though, because he's been through adversity beyond what I think kids should go through.
Exactly. It appears you can be a very good player with mediocre talent and exceptional football smarts or with exceptional talent and mediocre football smarts, but you can be an exceptional player if you can combine the two. Woodson is one of the very few that combined both. We will see what Peppers can do.
"Be excellent to each other and...party on dudes!." -Abraham Lincoln
You seemed to indicate that almost every comparable prospect had just a little bit more speed than Peppers, which I think he should more than be able to make up for with his instincts/intelligence. He will be a gamechanger his freshman year on defense, especially if he enrolls early. Speaking of, anybody know what his plans are regarding EE?
You stole three deaths from the Red God. We have to give them back. Speak three names and the man will do the rest.
And a little less size, and nobody had the academic qualifications he had, though he wouldn't be the first recruit to say he wants to be a doctor and then not be a doctor.
Haven't heard that he's an early enrollee and the coaches won't push him to be. Many high schools won't let you out early anyway, and given his courseload it would appear he needs to be there that last semester in order to prep for and take his APs.
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Thanks Seth. I am tempered in my excitement because in the end these are crapshoots but in general while 4 stars can be all american or total washouts at college level, generally you get at least a good college player with the limited 5 stars historically. That said I am haunted by Will Campbell experience but on the flip side we have Jake (no one offered but MAC schools) Ryan, who I believe was a 2 star. And the #1 draft pick in the last draft was a 2 star.
Nothing is guaranteed but I think he has a high floor based on athleticism alone. The ceiling? As your analysis shows - no one knows. Woodson might have been once in a lifetime at a specific school - I think D. Sanders, Woodson, Champ Bailey, and Peterson were probably the best 4 CBs in the past 25 years, and certainly once in a generation so let's temper things a bit around here with the comparisons to Woodson.
If JB has a "Ty Law" type of career we will be very fortunate.