This kid may not be the best player in the nation, but his game is certainly nothing to sneeze at. The news that he will be committing within a month or so ought to really spice things up on the MGoBoard. /crawlsbackunderrock
Thursday Recruitin' Moves Up The Scoville Scale
Before I get into the recruiting roundup, I'm planning a recruiting mailbag post for tomorrow and could use a couple more questions. If you've got one (or more!) please send me an email or tweet it to me. Now back to your regularly scheduled Jabrill Peppers update.
Jabrill Peppers Heat Status: Infinity Chilli
If you somehow haven't watched this just do it already. Yes, all of it.
As the recruitment of Jabrill Peppers evolves, Michigan's chances of landing the five-star corner appear to be getting better and better. The latest news from Peppers is that he's moving up his decision timeline and putting Penn State back in the mix—he'll make a May 18th visit to Happy Valley per 247's Steve Wiltfong ($) [emphasis mine]:
“They never left the picture,” [Paramus Catholic head coach Chris] Partridge said of Penn State. “Them and Michigan were his top visits. He decided he wanted to move up his decision timeline. He doesn’t have any negatives about Penn State. Them or Michigan. He wants to go and stay overnight at Penn State.”
Peppers is still aiming to get to Stanford before deciding.
“He is looking to commit sometime in early June,” Partridge said.
Peppers previously visited Penn State on February 20th, and while his coach is now talking up the visit there wasn't nearly the same over-the-moon reaction in the immediate aftermath as he had post-Michigan. Securing a second visit from Peppers is remarkably impressive for Bill O'Brien and PSU considering the circumstances; it seems unlikely they'd be able to overtake Michigan. This is very important considering the next bit of visit-related news:
2014 DB Jabrill Peppers hasn't cancelled his Stanford visit but it is proving difficult to plan around his track schedule, per his coach.
— The M Block (@TheMBlock) May 8, 2013
Despite finding it difficult to reschedule his trip to Stanford, Peppers is moving up his timeline. Even the staunchest of pessimists has to take that as a very good sign for Michigan's chances.
As it stands, it's hard to see a scenario in which Peppers sticks to his new timeline and doesn't choose the Wolverines. Penn State—and, if he makes the trip, Stanford—is still a threat, but there's more than one reason for Peppers to take a final visit: not only does he want to make sure he's making the right decision, he's got a high school teammate—QB Steve Shanley—who visited Happy Valley with him in February and is still hoping for a Nittany Lion offer.
PSU insiders certainly seem less optimistic than their Michigan counterparts—for good reason, with the sanctions and all. If early June is really the decision timeline, the Wolverines are going to be very tough to beat here. The current commits certainly seem to think so—either Drake Harris knows something we don't or he's just a very confident recruiter, via Sam Webb ($):
When asked if he thinks Michigan has a good chance of landing Peppers’ after their private conversations?
Harris replied, “I’ll just say we have good chance.”
Do you feel good where things stand with Peppers?
“I feel great!” Harris replied with a coy smile confidently.
Go ahead, watch that highlight tape again, and allow yourself to get a little excited.
[Hit THE JUMP for more from last weekend's camps, this weekend's visitor list, notes on new offers, and more.]
The Chase For, Er, Chase
247 has a free Big Ten recruiting rundown that contains the list of Michigan's important weekend visitors—this week, three visiting prospects provide plenty of intrigue:
- PA OLB Chase Winovich has emerged as Michigan's top remaining linebacker target, and this battle should come down to the Wolverines and Ohio State, the program many have presumed leads for the three-star prospect. Lately, however, insiders on both sides seem to be feeling good about their respective schools' chances; a commitment to either school is likely to happen sooner rather than later, making this visit a very important one.
- Southfield DE/LB Lawrence Marshall will be in Ann Arbor once again, and while Michigan State may have the edge nobody—including Marshall—seems to have a clear read of his recruitment. One interesting note about this visit: Marshall is making the trip with commit Moe Ways, whom he's known for years from playing AAU ball together. With fellow prospects becoming nearly as important as coaches in the recruitment of many players, expect Ways to give Marshall his best pitch for Michigan.
- 2015 OH LB/RB Jerome Baker already holds offers from the likes of Florida and Ohio State, and according to Tim Sullivan he'll add Michigan to that list when the coaches see him in person this weekend ($, info in header). The Buckeyes are his childhood favorite and probably the team to beat, but it's still early in his recruitment. [Pre-publish EDIT: Per Steve Lorenz, Baker won't make it this weekend. Presumably he'll pick up his offer when he's able to reschedule.]
I'm hesitant to sound the alarm on Winovich, but he is visiting campus and his recruitment is definitely winding down quickly—his is a situation worth monitoring, at least. Brady Hoke has pulled bigger upsets.
Camp Reports: Harris, Ways, Watson
If Michigan isn't able to pull Winovich out of Ohio, it's pretty clear that IL LB Kyron Watson is their next option. This quote from Watson at last weekend's Chicago NFTC suggests that the Wolverines are waiting on Winovich before they plan to take him, per GBW's Josh Newkirk ($):
As far as a decision timeline, Watson says he will be making his final decision after his visit to Ann Arbor in late May.
“My decision, I will make my decision at the end of May when I visit Michigan. So I can really know if Michigan (is a possibility.) I already visited Kansas. So, If Michigan is the place, I’ll know.”
The coaches don't want to take commitments until a player sees campus—for very understandable reasons—so until Watson visits in a couple of weeks Winovich has a window to commit. After Watson visits, it doesn't look like that last linebacker spot will be open one way or the other.
As for Watson's on-field performance, Scout provided two pretty disparate reports. Here's Newkirk again ($):
Kyron Watson out of East St. Louis Senior (Ill.) High, had an up and down Nike combine Sunday. While the 2014 linebacker looked good early, he lacked good footwork in the open field. He struggled in pass coverage drills and doesn’t possess top speed at the LB position. He is more of a run stopper at this point of football development. He is a between the tackles linebacker and had struggles with faster running backs in the open field. While he is listed at 6-foot-1, he is closer to 5-foot-10 or 11. He has a sturdy build but doesn’t possess the speed to play the outside backer position.
And, reporting from the same camp, here's the take from Allen Trieu ($):
East St. Louis' Kyron Watson had a good day in the LB-RB pass rush drill and was also to breakup a couple passes in coverage. He's not as long as some of the other guys, but is thick and strong and plays a very physical game.
So Watson either struggled or did not struggle in the pass coverage drills, but we can confirm that he's a short, stout linebacker. Hope that helped.
From that same Newkirk article, Sam Webb provided evaluations of Drake Harris...
Harris got on top of most defensive backs with ease. Those that were able to stick with him did so by winning the physical battle at or close to the line. On those occasions he was still sometimes able to win the battle by out-leaping his opponent for the ball (provided it was on target). What was most impressive, though, may have been what he didn’t show. At the moment Harris is an extremely slender pass catcher that isn’t well versed in the nuances of the position. Despite that he is a consistent big play threat. After a few years in the weight room defensive backs won’t be able to muscle him at the line of scrimmage… and when his route running becomes more refined he’ll be even more proficient at getting open.
...and Moe Ways:
Maurice Ways was without question one of the strongest receivers at the event. He gave quarterbacks a huge target to throw at, which is probably why many of the balls thrown in his direction seemed to find their mark. He was at his best working the middle of the field where he was able to wall defenders off with his body. And like Harris he was also able to go up and high point ball. He didn’t get deep as frequently as future teammate, but as his route technique improves he’ll be more successful at occasionally getting a step on his opponent. But his primary functions will likely be working the intermediate routes, being a consistent jump ball threat, and being a dangerous weapon in the redzone. He and Harris look to be perfect complements to one another.
Ways also reportedly had a solid showing when it came to catching the football away from his body, something that's been an issue for him.
In other camp news, two of Michigan's top 2015 targets—NY DE Tyrone Wheatley Jr. and Cass Tech DE Joshua Alabi, both of whom hold offers—put in the top two performances among linemen at the Midwest Elite Football Exposure Camp, according to Scout (free article). Wheatley is described as "purely unstoppable," while Alabi's strength has apparently improved since his sophomore season. In related news, Wheatley told Scout that Michigan, Penn State, and Alabama are his early favorites ($).
New Offers: Commitment Watch?
2015 Lakewood (OH) St. Edward CB Shaun Crawford has described Michigan as his "dream school" despite growing up in the heart of Buckeye country. After picking up that coveted Wolverine offer this week, Crawford tells Tim Sullivan that he could be on the verge of a commitment ($):
"Oh yeah it was tempting [to commit], but I just want to get home and talk to my parents about it first," Crawford said. "They also love Michigan, love the school and the campus. We'll talk about it, and it's definitely a choice that I might make in the near future."
"Honestly, I don't want to drag it out too long. I'll probably end up making it really quick. I want to get to Michigan one more time before the season starts. Maybe some other places just to see how they compare to Michigan and the academics."
That's pretty cut-and-dry, and great news considering Crawford already has offers from Arkansas, Florida State, Miami (YTM), Michigan State, Penn State, and Tennessee (the only other school he's visited), among others. We'll see if Crawford makes it out to any other schools; either way, Michigan looks tough to beat.
The M Block has a free rundown, with quotes, from three recent 2015 offered prospects, including Crawford and MN DE Jashon Cornell, who's recently added Notre Dame, Ohio State, and USC to his offer list along with the Wolverines. Cornell projects as either a weakside DE or rush linebacker, and he tells Tim Sullivan that he plans to visit Michigan when he attends the Sound Mind Sound Body camp in June ($).
Five-star CA ATH John "Juju" Smith has scheduled an official visit for the Notre Dame game, per Steve Lorenz ($). While that's a long way from home, Smith also plans to take officials to Notre Dame and Ohio State, so he's clearly giving the Midwest a serious look; he's an athlete who could play on either side of the ball. This gives Michigan two five-star official visitors for the second iteration of Under The Lights, as Da'Shawn Hand will also be in attendance.
Michigan makes the top seven for NJ RB Jonathan Hilliman along with Alabama, Boston College, Ohio State, Rutgers, Stanford, and Vanderbilt, per ESPN's Jared Shanker ($).
Top-ranked CA TE Tyler Luatua tells Scout's Greg Biggins that Michigan is still among the schools recruiting him the hardest ($). The assumption is that the Wolverines are finished with tight end recruiting after taking Ian Bunting, but perhaps that would change for a prospect as talented as Luatua. He could also potentially flip to defensive end, though most schools are recruiting him for offense.
Speaking of Bunting, he talks to MLive's Kyle Meinke about the role Devin Funchess played in showing him what he could accomplish at Michigan.
Peppers is rated the #2 player in the nation by several boards, so the connotation of your phrasing is a little weird.
Also...don't quit your day job.
Sorry, can't resist:
Sure he might not be the best player in the nation. However, as a consensus top 10 recruit to all sites and ranked 2nd to three of those sites he is clearly one of the best recruits in the nation. Elite speed and very shifty. Man this kid tackles with speed holy crap.
I think I'm the only one who sees what you did there? "nothing to sneeze at"? "spice things up"? Some of the better puns used in this recruiting cycle IMO. And there have been many. Crawl back out from under that rock young man and take a bow.
I should have assumed Peppers ran track after watching his film. May already be common knowledge, but his personal bests are 10.77 in the 100M and 21.75 in the 200M. Link? LINK. Those are pretty fast times for a Sophomore (the link is a preseason March 29th article). He also anchors their 4x100M team.
Edit: Just ran a 10.83 last weekend with a slightly strained right groin and said "I didn’t want to aggravate it but I ran overall pretty well." I'd say. BTW, there should be no such thing as a "slightly strained" groin. You are either full go or no go IMHO. I predict he sets his personal best as soon as that bad boy is 100 percent. LINK. I am officially starting to feel like a stalker.
The Scoville Scale makes me think of that chubby bastard Adam Richman and I hate Adam Richman.
I dont know anything about this Tyler Luatua, but he sounds like he belongs at USC
or maybe Oregon. Utah and BYU also get their fair share of Polynesians.
I hear they are good at the football thing.
I seen a recent pic of Drake Harris and Mo Ways next to each other. Harris most certainly needs to bulk up a little. Although, he has been playing basketball up until this point and he is now concentrating on football only so I'm sure he know some lbs. will have to come.
Also, how does someone with the name Tyrone Wheatley Jr. not have Michigan as his only favorite?!?!
isn't narrow-minded. I'm sure he's given junior the Michigan talk, but Wheatley Sr. was quite open to other options when asked by a reporter about schools for his son a short while ago.
That may be, but I'd still be pretty surprised and a bit disappointed if Tyrone Jr. went to Bama (or wherever) instead of Michigan.
Using your argument, we shouldn't have landed THJ or GRIII on the hardwood because they should have played at UTEP and Purdue, respectively. Maybe he wants to make his own legacy elsewhere...
Well, no. Because UTEP ummm, isn't exactly an elite university for anything. Tim Sr said he was a little bitter that he wasn't more highly recruited coming out of Chicago. Plus I think they also had a better program back then than now. But I think it's safe to say Michigan was a better option for Tim Jr. And I don't believe Purdue ever offered GRIII. If they did it was really late. That was a bit of a story during his recruitment and this year. Painter made up some BS that his class was already full but that was not true. He just never showed enough interest.
Yeah, those aren't good arguments, especially considering how well documented it is that Purdue didn't offer GRIII.
I'm certainly not saying it's a given we get Wheatley Jr., but it would be a pretty big deal if he went somewhere else. I really really really want him to come to Michigan.
"He and Harris look to be perfect complements to one another." You can't find that out on Scout or Rivals, Urban! I don't care if he was joking, it's still fun to ridicule the enemy.
I sure hope the first report from Scout on Watson is wrong. They basically called him short and slow.
Watson reminds me of Kenny Demens.
Harris actually reminds me of Charles Rogers.
Ways reminds me a little of Savoy but with better straight speed.
I wouldn't gamble on that guy.
They said the same thing about James Ross though. Some guys don't have great measurables but are just football players.
The problem is that they're looking at him as an outside linebacker. He's not an outside linebacker. He's an inside linebacker, at least in Michigan's defense. They look at "outside linebackers" like in a 4-3 Over defense, but we're an Under defense where the WILL is an ILB, not an OLB.
Yeah, this is the problem with recruiting - the scouts don't always know what each school plans to do with him, and one guy might be a perfect fit for one defense, and a poor fit for another.
I wonder why that Scout thinks he's 5-10 or 5-11, because at a recent camp (not this one) I saw that he was measured at 6-0 or 6-0.5, so that number is probably pretty accurate. And that's fine for an ILB.
all good news! this makes me excited for the future of our team!!!!
Peppers is a hell of an athlete but I hope he tones down the showboating just a hair. There were a couple of straight out of the book unsportsmanlike conducts in the highlight vid.
He's obviously tremendously talented, but the whole "I want to be better than Woodson" stuff leaves me cold. The kid might have trouble fitting his head into a Michigan helmet after another year of people telling him how great he is.
I get what you're saying, but would you rather he say, "I was to be a fringe NFL type player" or "I want to be good but I'll be happy falling well short of Woodson."? This is the attitude this kids have, and the attitude you need to have to be great. I'm sure Woodson was saying the same things when he came out.
Between his high GPA, hearing him in a podcast, and hearing what Sam Webb said about him, I think it's way more about him being confidant, knowing he's good, and pushing himself than it is the things we'd worry about. I have a feeling wherever he lands he comes in thinking he knows what he can do and trying to do it. If he's wrong he'll get cut down and figure things out. If he's right he might end up a leader.
A lot of people say things like this, but few work hard enough to be successful (not in reaching their stated goals necessarily). I think Peppers seems like the Kobe Bryant-type who may put some people off with his confidence, but is obviously a great player because of his determination and hard work. Kobe wants to be greater than Jordan. That will never happen. But he has certainly had a great career.
Dude.. Come on.. I hope that comment is the most foolish you've made on this blog. Go back and watch highlights and interviews with Woodson. He was literally the exact same way. His freshman year in the first practice he came in and got in a fight with Amani Toomer during a scrimmage. He was asked if he thought he was the best player in the nation by a reporter during his Heisman season and he said very simply, "yeah i do." And you know what? He was right. The best players always think they're the best and it in no way makes them a bad influence on the team or a headcase. Do you remember Woodson's shoulder shakes? It gives me chills just thinking about it. I would LOVE to have a player like that on our side again.
Before I even wandered into this Woodson debate, as I was watching that film, I thought, "Is this what Charles Woodson's high school film looked like? Did he play against that kind of opposition down in Fremont?" I know that Charles was a pretty gaudy RB in Ohio.
Has anybody ever seen a high school mixtape of Woodson?
Im sure Brady has seen this film too and I know Brady isn't going to let anyone step out of line on the field. See: Brady grabbing DG and giving him a stern talking to after the UTL touchdown because DG ran downfield. I'm sure they're comfortable with Jabrill's character or we wouldn't be so close to nabbing him
That is the most songs i have ever heard in a highlight tape, also cant wait to see him return punts.
Me either hes shifty like mcguffey was but weighs more than 115 pounds.What kind of comp. does his highschool play against? CANT WAIT TO SEE HIM IN THE WINGED HELMET!!!!
Going on the record again.Jabrill Peppers will be a Michigan Wolverine. Mark it.
— CoachBrown TheMBlock (@CoachBrown3) May 9, 2013
Last time he did this with Drake Harris, he had some inside info that Drake had told the coaches he wanted to wait until the spring game to commit officially. Hopefully he has some early confirmation again.
I personally think this Penn St visit will be his last- quickly committing to Michigan afterwards
I just hope we don't have another Pharoah Brown/David Dawson/Gareon Conley issue where he commits, but might want to take a visit to Stanford when things slow down.
Anyone else a tiny bit worried? Peppers's dad just came out of prison and Penn St. would let Jabrill be closer to him
Brah, that was my exact thoughts yesterday when this Penn St. visit news broke.
was that those people did not have those offers before they committed here, then checked stuff out once they got them. Peppers already has all the offers, so that might be a difference.
OH MY WORD I JUST REMEMBERED THAT WAS A JUNIOR HIGHLIGHT TAPE.
I normally don't put too much stock into the highlight tapes of these recruits because:
1) They are only going to show all there good plays.
2) I am not a professional film break down guy and they all look good to me.
But one thing that immediately jumped out at me more then others I've seen is that this dude is a great athlete, one of those "game changers" thats on the field from day one. I thought it was pretty cool we were in the running for him now I am excited that he may actually come here.
I still think we should offer Gelen Robinson. He just looks better than Lawrence Marshall to me I think he could play a handful of positions for us. He just took home the defensive MVP honors at the Rivals camp in Chicago. At the very least, he's a guy we should offer if any of our DL options fall through.
Be made to Gelen. He has a high ceiling IMO .
Again, those camps heavily favor defensive linemen. I wouldn't put too much stock in that MVP award...
That's fair, but he was still the top DL there, and although it wasn't stocked with 5-stars, there was an MSU commit and the 2015 DE we just offered, among others. I'm not saying the camp alone is the reason, but obviously he looked good there, and it's not the first time.
I'd be pretty surprised if Robinson got an offer. Yes, he's looked good at camps, but he's a 6'2", 230-pound defensive end. Take a look at the size of the guys Michigan currently has on the roster at DE and the prospects they're recruiting there. Frank Clark is still a WDE despite pushing 280, and at 6'2" he's the shortest DE on the team—and he's a more explosive athlete than Robinson. Taco Charlton is a 6'6", 265-pound true freshman and he'll be a WDE. Depending on how the class shakes out, Da'Shawn Hand could even end up there, and he's a high school defensive tackle.
Michigan is clearly building a massive D-line. I don't think Robinson fits that vision, even though I think he's a decent prospect.