Michigan's class is already the best in the country and the Wolverines just added five-star CB Jabrill Peppers, who is No. 2 in the ESPN 150. Here's how our scouts think Peppers will fit in at Michigan:
What he brings: An elite skill set that allows for him to be a legitimate candidate at multiple positions despite our projection as a cornerback. He could play as a RB or WR and certainly has return-specialist value. His measurables are ideal for whatever position he ends up playing, especially corner in today's game. Can match up with big, physical receivers and yet can still lock down and transition/mirror speedy, quicker receiving threats on the perimeter if on an island.
How he fits: Just about any way he wants to right now with Michigan's current roster. Last year's class loaded up in the secondary, but not necessarily with players the caliber of Peppers. He is more talented than what they have at either corner or safety, both of which he is capable of playing. Could be an ideal nickel as his size allows for him to play in or near the box and allows him to be very effective in run support. How steep the learning curve will be is the big question.
Reminds us of: This comparison seems too convenient, but due to the versatile qualities Charles Woodson does come to mind. Now everybody cool their jets, we aren't saying he is Charles Woodson, but there are many similarities in skill and ability to play on both sides of the ball and contribute on special teams. It is never wise to compare high school kids to all-pros -- and we are not doing that here -- but this gives a glimpse of the type of player Peppers is and what he can bring to the team in terms of overall production. A fair college comparison could be FSU's Ronald Darby, who played as a true freshman last fall and will start for the Seminoles this fall at corner.
History at position: Not bad company to join the likes of Leon Hall and Marlin Jackson, both of whom were drafted in the first round. However, Ty Law and Woodson are the most well-known Michigan alumni in the secondary. Recently this team has lacked playmakers and difference-makers on defense, which is why this commitment, if the Wolverines can hold onto it, is so important.
Prediction for performance: Very strong. Aside from Peppers' talent level, his temperament and competitiveness give us confidence in projecting a high success rate. Any time a prospect can be of value at more than one position, his stock increases. If the player possesses some innate qualities and intangibles, which we feel Peppers does, then the margin of error for missing on a prospect decreases dramatically.
How the class is shaping up: It couldn't be any stronger at this stage, as the Wolverines sit at No. 1 in class rankings. This start to the 2014 recruiting class almost identically mirrors last year's start to the 2013 class that finished at No. 6 in the country. The Wolverines will work hard to hold on to this class, which already has 10 commits, including a nation-best nine ESPN 150 prospects, and scholarship availability will dictate a rather small class. There are at least two defensive lineman that Michigan would love to add in DE Da'Shawn Hand and DT Malik McDowell.