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Monday, March 18, 2013
Four schools at the top for DB Peppers

By Tom VanHaaren

Jabrill Peppers
ESPN Watch List defensive back Jabrill Peppers has narrowed his list to four schools.

Defensive back Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic) can choose any school he would like. From the SEC to the Big Ten, Peppers is coveted by most top programs across the country. He is still mulling through the information in front of him, but according to his coach, Chris Partridge, there are four schools currently sticking out.

"I think what he has right now as his top schools are Stanford, Ohio State, Michigan and LSU," Partridge said. "Those are the four that he chose to visit in the spring when we gave him the choice."

Peppers will be visiting Michigan on April 3, Ohio State on April 5, LSU on April 12 and finally Stanford on July 12. Those are all very different schools, which is part of why they are all in the top group.

The Watch List prospect wants to get a look at each program and what they have to offer, from academics to football and the campus in general. While Ohio State might provide something different than Stanford and Michigan to LSU, Peppers has similar criteria for each visit.

"It's a comfort level that he's looking for. Someone that's going to challenge him because he doesn't take the easy way out in anything he does," Partridge said. "He's looking for a place that will push him to the limits constantly. He wants to get to know the staff and just get an overall view of the school."

Since Peppers grew up a Michigan fan the trip to Ann Arbor already has some appeal. The school he rooted for as a youngster will be exciting to see in person, but likely won't be a determining factor when all is said and done.

It won't be why he chooses a school, but Partridge says it might factor in Peppers' decision to some extent.

"As a kid if you get the opportunity to go there and play for the team you root for, if you ask any kid they would jump all over it," he said. "It does factor in, of course, and that's part of why they're in the top group. At the same time he's smart and if it's not the right fit he won't try to fit a round peg in a square hole."

That goes back to the comfort level and ultimately what Peppers believes is best for him. There isn't a set date for his decision yet and his coach believes Peppers won't allow the process to distract him from what's important. When the time is right he will make his choice, but there is still information to be gathered and coaches to meet.

As he takes more visits that top list could very well change, but for now these are the four schools vying to land a potential game-changer. Peppers' highlight film has been viewed over 15,000 times on YouTube, but Partridge believes a big reason why so many schools are after his star pupil is for actions you won't find on his highlight tape.

"I always tell people you can see Jabrill on the field, that's easy. You can see how strong, explosive and everything, but people don't understand why he is who he is," he said. "Off the field he is tremendous. He's a great natural leader, an unselfish player and a great teammate. He is just a fierce competitor. You bundle all that up and it makes him extremely talented."