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Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Peppers should know future school soon

By Jared Shanker

By mid-July, one of the top players in the country will have a pretty good idea as to where he will be playing his college football in 2014.

Paramus (N.J.) Catholic cornerback Jabrill Peppers, No. 2 in the ESPN 150, will visit Stanford in July. Following that trip, he will have his future program in mind.

“Definitely after I visit Stanford I should have it pretty clear where I want to go,” Peppers said.

The five-star cornerback is coming off April trips to LSU, Michigan and Ohio State, and while Peppers did not tip his hand, people close to the dynamic two-way athlete say Michigan has a sizeable lead of those three. He has listed Stanford as his No. 1 for several months and will visit Palo Alto before officially dropping them from the top of his list.

Once Peppers gets back from Stanford, he says he “should have a great idea of where I want to go,” but he said he could throw in one more unofficial visit to a school outside his top group, which consists of those four schools. Peppers said Florida, Georgia and Michigan State could land an unofficial visit.

While he said he will have a good inclination as to which school he will eventually sign with after the Stanford visit, he is not planning a commitment. Once the season starts, the plan is to put recruiting on hold until the bye week and then after the season. He is looking to only take two official visits.

“I’m not going to announce it until after the season, because once I have [a top school in the summer] I’m not going to think about it [during the season],” he said. “And then the top two I want to take an official visit to, and then I’ll know exactly where I want to be at.”

Cardinal coaches Derek Mason and David Kotulski were at Paramus Catholic last week at the beginning of the spring evaluation period.

“Every time the guys come it’s always fun,” Peppers said. “We have lots to talk about and the comfort level with them is on the same level as Michigan.”

Paramus Catholic coach Chris Partridge said the Michigan coaches did a good job of connecting with Peppers while on his visit to Ann Arbor. It was not so much a recruiting pitch the Michigan coaches were giving, and Peppers said Michigan felt like he was back at his high school.

“It was a great experience. They definitely exceeded my expectations,” he said. “I knew it was good but didn’t think it’d be how it was. They’re down to earth coaches and the comfort level I felt when I was there was the main thing that stood out. It felt like I was [at Paramus Catholic].

“All the universities were really different. You have LSU in the SEC, extremely different in every way shape or form or fashion than Michigan, which was different from Ohio State. I’m glad I got to see a lot of things. It’s really helping my decision.”

The recruiting visits have not taken away from Peppers’ main focus in 2013, which is to win a national championship. Peppers won a state title as a junior, but he wore his championship ring only once. He has moved on and is spending the offseason tweaking his technique at cornerback.

“I’m working on my fluidity, my back pedal, how I break on the ball, how I flip my hips, just the fundamentals because I believe I have all the other intangibles,” Peppers said, “but the fundamentals is what’s going to set me apart at the next level because I’m not going to be that much more faster or talented than some of the guys out there.”