Michigan notebook: Jabrill Peppers sets the record straight
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Jabrill Peppers wasn’t going to let a rumor get any more out of control.
Two days before Michigan’s season opener against Hawaii, speculation that Peppers was suspended from the game circulated on social media.
“People kept tweeting it at me, so I don’t know, maybe I should say something,” Peppers, a linebacker, said Tuesday. “Usually, I don’t care or get into it, but it was like every other second, people asking me, ‘Why are you suspended? What did you do?’ ”
After consulting with Michigan’s coaches and support staff, Peppers set the record straight in two tweets.
Idk where the rumor came from but no I am not suspended lol
— JP5 (@JabrillPeppers) September 1, 2016
Lol now again, can I ball, can I chilllll? Sheesh.
— JP5 (@JabrillPeppers) September 1, 2016
Peppers has a personal policy when it comes to using social media.
“I understand my position,” Peppers said. “I understand a lot of eyes are on me, more than usual. I take it for what it is. I wouldn’t say anything or tweet anything that I wouldn’t say in front of my mom or in an interview.”
Peppers also set the record straight on the mindset of the linebackers, a position group he believes has been unfairly maligned. Peppers, Mike McCray and Ben Gedeon combined for 20 tackles and four sacks, and were the team’s category leaders against the Rainbow Warriors.
“We felt a lot of disrespect,” said Peppers, who moved from safety to a hybrid linebacker/pass rusher for this season. “Seeing what they produce in practice and how people were talking about them, we definitely played with that chip on our shoulder.”
Big man, smart appetite
Michigan freshman Michael Onwenu played at both offensive line and defensive line against Hawaii, and he drew comparisons between the two positions.
“Offense, it’s not easier, but in my opinion, defense is a little bit easier because all you’ve got to do is play your gap and just be physical,” Onwenu said. “Offense is a lot more physical. You’ve got to learn a lot of plays, steps and techniques.”
Onwenu is a combination of size, athleticism and quickness — and easily the biggest player on Michigan’s roster, listed at 6 feet 3, 350 pounds.
Onwenu said he’s actually 375 pounds, and insists he’s smart about his consumption choices.
“I like grapes, I like fruit,” Onwenu said. “I eat a lot of fruit. I don’t eat as much as people think I do, but I don’t eat a lot of junk food, but whatever I feel like eating. And, sometimes, I don’t feel like eating a lot of food, so I’ll just take a little snack.
To slim down for fall camp, what did Onwenu have to give up?
“Mostly bread and rice,” Onwenu said. “Starchy foods.”
In awe of it
Rashan Gary finally experienced the hype of not just being inside Michigan Stadium, but the excitement that came with playing in front of 100,000 fans.
That experience came with some jitters for Gary, a freshman defensive end who was the nation’s No. 1 recruit in 2016.
“It was crazy,” Gary said, in his first meeting with the media since arriving at Michigan earlier this summer from Paramus Catholic in New Jersey. “I was nervous. But (Chris) Wormley and Taco (Charlton), they calmed me down. They said, ‘It’s time to go.’ I had a great time, but my first series out there, I was nervous. The more I started adjusting, the more I started making plays.”
Gary had two tackles (one solo) in the second half of Michigan’s win against Hawaii.
“I’d never experienced nothing like that in my life,” Gary said. “And I can’t wait until next Saturday, to experience that again.”
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday he didn’t have an update on the availability of Charlton and defensive end Bryan Mone, who sustained injuries against Hawaii, but said he didn’t anticipate them playing Saturday against Central Florida.
Charlton sustained an ankle injury. Michigan has not disclosed Mone’s injury, but he left Schembechler Hall on Tuesday on crutches and with a brace on his left knee.
Bryan Mone pic.twitter.com/tQO9bcDGOb
— Adam Biggers (@AdamBiggers81) September 6, 2016
Rachel Lenzi covers Michigan sports for Landof10.com. You can follow her on Twitter at @RLenziCMG