ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Jabrill Peppers, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh explained, is like a sponge.
Give the linebacker a drawing of what he needs to do, or show him a video clip of something he can do, and Peppers, Harbaugh said, can immediately internalize it and replicate it.
“He can go to the field and do it the first time, as well as anybody that you saw do it on a clip or can imagine someone doing it on a drawing,” Harbaugh said Tuesday on the Big Ten football coaches teleconference.
Peppers has already been mentioned as a Heisman Trophy candidate, and that buzz certainly grew with his all-around standout performance on both sides of the ball in Saturday’s 78-0 win at Rutgers:
- 3 carries, 74 yards and 2 TDs
- 2 tackles, half a sack and a quarterback hurry
- 2 punt returns for 3 yards, but had a 44-yard return for a TD wiped out on of a blocking-in-the-back penalty
“He retains at a very high level and memorizes really well and I think just, in taking a concept and visualizing how he would do it, and he’s able to do it,” the second-year Michigan coach said. “You’ve seen people do it that way. People watch somebody on TV, a basketball move or a baseball or a football, some athletic movement that you see somebody else do. There’s certain athletes who can go out and do it themselves, the way they saw it. Not many, but he’s exceptional, retaining information it, memorizing it and athletically reproducing just about anything he wants to.”
No. 4 Michigan (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten Conference) has a bye this week, then hosts Illinois at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 22.