Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J. Paramus Catholic) has committed to Michigan over Penn State, Ohio State, Stanford and LSU solidifying the Wolverines spot atop ESPN’s class of 2014 recruiting rankings. The nation’s top athlete and No. 2 recruit according to ESPN currently becomes the biggest recruiting coordinator for Michigan, and priority number one is trying to bring in 247Sports.com’s No. 1 player Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va. Woodbridge) to Ann Arbor.
Peppers wanted to commit this early in the recruiting process so he could be Michigan’s biggest recruiting pitch for head coach Brady Hoke and his coaching staff, namely Greg Mattison, who has been instrumental in the recruitment of both Peppers and Hand. Leading to Sunday’s announcement it was a certainty that Peppers was choosing the Wolverines after his visit on Apr. 3 that prompted him to name them his leaders and his high school teammate Juwann Bushell-Beatty committed Apr. 29.
The Wolverines have some work to do to be the favorite for Hand who has Alabama, Auburn, Florida and South Carolina among his leaders with Michigan, but it’s Virginia Tech who is the biggest threat to the Wolverines for the 6-5, 247-pound defensive end. Hand visited Ann Arbor Mar. 15 and later received a visit from his secondary recruiter Roy Manning Apr. 22. He also shares a close relationship with Mattison.
Adding Peppers to his list of recruiters makes me think it’s only a matter of time until the lead the Hokies currently have over Michigan begins to shrink. Peppers has an engaging and effervescent personality which makes coaches and teachers rave about how smart he is. He has a 3.9 GPA and hopes to be an orthopedic surgeon one day, but it doesn’t take a doctor to realize how important landing Hand will be to Michigan.
If Hand were not from Virginia I don’t think that Tech would be in the position they are at the moment, and they have to be nervous about losing the top in-state talent. When Hand looks around the other committed recruits to Michigan he will realize that he will want to be a part of this class and join Peppers in Ann Arbor.
Elite players want to play with other elite players and have a shot to compete for championships as well as having a shot to get drafted high in the NFL. The SEC is the king of the sport now, but if Michigan lands arguably the top two players in the class of 2014, the Wolverines could be the first Big Ten team to win a BCS Title since the their hated rivals won in 2002. Three years down the road these two could be the top two picks in the NFL draft.
Peppers joins the Michigan family today where he could become the next Charles Woodson and will be the x-factor in bringing Hand into the family as well.