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Versatile Peppers leaving Michigan for NFL draft

01/11/2017, 12:17am EST
By BLADE STAFF

He told Jim Harbaugh of his decision Monday

Versatile Peppers leaving Michigan for NFL draft

Jabrill Peppers is going pro. Michigan's do-it-all defender told Sports Illustrated that he would forego his final two seasons of eligibility and enter the NFL draft. BLADE/ANDY MORRISON

ANN ARBOR — Jabrill Peppers is going pro.

Michigan's do-it-all defender told Sports Illustrated that he would forego his final two seasons of eligibility and enter the NFL draft.

“It's one of the hardest things I've ever had to do,” Peppers told SI. “I'm choosing between cementing my legacy as a college player and starting my pro legacy. It's something you dream of when you were a kid. I was torn between the two.”

Peppers, the 2016 Big Ten defensive player of the year and a Heisman Trophy Finalist, told Jim Harbaugh of his decision Monday after spending the weekend at home in New Jersey with family.

The unanimous first-team All-American finishes his career with 125 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, one interception, 10 pass breakups, and one forced fumble. He also recorded 993 return yards, 239 rushing yards, and five touchdowns.

Peppers, a redshirt sophomore, is projected to be a first-round pick, possibly in the top 10. He played 15 positions in 2016, finishing with 72 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, one interception, and one forced fumble. Peppers also had 167 rushing yards, 570 return yards, and four touchdowns.

He was voted as Michigan’s team MVP in 2016 and won the Paul Hornung Award, which goes to the nation’s most versatile player, and the Lott IMPACT Trophy.

Peppers’ final college game came at Ohio State, as he missed Michigan’s Orange Bowl loss to Florida State with a hamstring injury. Freshman Josh Metellus started that game and could be Peppers’ long-term replacement. Junior-to-be Noah Furbush is also an option.

Contact Kyle Rowland at: krowland@theblade.com, 419-724-6110, or on Twitter @KyleRowland.

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Tag(s): College  Michigan