Paramus (N.J.) Catholic five-star athlete Jabrill Peppers announced his college commitment for Michigan early Sunday evening.
Checking in at No. 3, Peppers becomes the highest-rated recruit to commit to Michigan in the history of the 247Composite.
Ranked by the 247Composite as the nation’s No. 3 recruit overall, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Peppers becomes the highest-rated player to choose the Wolverines since the 247Composite has been tracking prospects going back to the 2002 recruiting class.
Recruited to play cornerback in Ann Arbor, Peppers visited Michigan for the first time back on April 3 and basically had his mind made up on the Maize and Blue from that point on.
“I felt it after the visit,” Peppers told 247Sports on Saturday through a statement given to the network from his head coach Chris Partridge. “I grew up a Michigan fan and the opportunity to play for the program was one I couldn’t pass up. The direction of the program, we’re going to be competing for and winning National Championships.”
Peppers also considered scholarships from the likes of LSU, Ohio State, Penn State and Stanford. He was recruited by Wolverines assistant coach Curt Mallory, and also built a strong relationship with defensive coordinator Greg Mattison and head coach Brady Hoke.
“The coaching staff reminds me of the coaches we have at Paramus Catholic,” Peppers said. “Down-to-earth, great guys that are having fun and are focused on winning and they love coaching Michigan football.”
Peppers becomes commit No. 11 for the Wolverines in the class-of-2014 and the third ranked inside the 247Composite Top100, joining receiver Drake Harris and defensive tackle Bryan Mone. Peppers teammate in Top247 offensive tackle Juwann Bushell-Beatty is also part of Michigan's recruiting class.
Peppers emerged as a national recruit as a freshman starter at Don Bosco Prep and helped them win two state championships before transferring to Paramus Catholic and doing the same as a junior. Last fall, Peppers registered 77 tackles, three interceptions and a forced fumble on defense while adding 1,552 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns on offense. He also had five receiving scores.
“He’s an ultimate competitor,” Partridge said. “He comes to work every day. He’s intense and loves the game and works at it in every aspect. He’s someone that is upbeat. His skills are his skills. Off the field his leadership ability and the way he understands his teammates, and his unselfishness, he knows what he has to do to win football games and the way he competes is special. He gets it. We call him an old soul.”
As versatile off the field as he is on it, Peppers carries a 3.9 GPA and is an aspiring orthopedic surgeon. An equally talented artist, Peppers puts all his time away from the athletics field and classroom into his music. During the spring, Peppers stars on the Paramus Catholic track team as one of the top sprinters in the nation. He has personal bests of 10.3 in the 100-meter dash and 21.3 in the 200-meter dash.
When the recruiting process began, Peppers had planned to take all five official visits. However, following spring trips to the campuses at Michigan, Ohio State, LSU and Penn State, he saw all he needed to see.
“The reason he wanted to commit early was two-fold,” Partridge said. “He wanted to get all the distraction out of the way before we started practice. Also, he wants to help (Michigan) bring in the best recruiting class in school history. He did it, not for just himself, but for both schools. The one where he’s at and the one he’s going to.”
Speaking of recruiting prospects to Michigan, Peppers already has his sights on helping the Wolverines land the nation’s No. 1 prospect in Woodbridge (Va.) High defensive end Da’Shawn Hand.
“As a defensive back, you can’t look good without a great d-line,” Peppers said.
Peppers becomes the fourth-ever prospect from the 247Composite’s top-five to pledge to Michigan. In 2003, the Wolverines signed linebackers LaMarr Woodley (No. 4) and Prescott Burgess (No. 5). In 2007, quarterback Ryan Mallett (No. 5) inked with Michigan before transferring to Arkansas after his freshman season.