The Michigan football media notes list Jabrill Peppers’ highlights under the defense section. However, the third bullet point below his name expands his role to kick returner, and a few more bullets down he’s introduced as part of the offense.
Peppers might earn a spot under the offensive tab after further establishing himself as a three-way threat in Saturday’s 29-26 victory over the Gophers at TCF Bank Stadium.
“Very explosive performance by Jabrill in all three phases,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said. “Very close to kicking out of a shoestring tackle on offense to score a long touchdown, the one he picked up the first down at midfield. He got into the end zone for us on a sweep play. … He’s an explosive, great player.”
The Michigan redshirt freshman, listed as a safety on the Wolverines’ roster, rushed four times for 16 yards and a touchdown. He took two snaps out of the wildcat formation; the first he carried 6 yards for his first colligate touchdown in the third quarter to put the Wolverines ahead 21-16.
Earlier in the drive on third-and-4, he took the first pitch of a reverse to Jehu Chesson for 22 yards and a first down.
As the primary kicker returner, he returned a punt for 41 yards and a kickoff for 41 yards to jump-start two Michigan touchdown drives.
“I just tried to do what I’m coached to do and try to set the offense up with the best possible field position. That’s my job and I think I definitely did a great job of that,” Peppers said about his returning duties. “And it just finally feels good to get in the end zone.”
On defense, Peppers had three tackles, including one in the final minute when he tripped up Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner on the Michigan 23-yard line. He also broke up two passes.
Peppers nearly picked off Leidner but couldn’t hold on to the pass. If he had, he probably would have scored a second touchdown late in the third quarter.
Peppers began playing on offense against Michigan State. He caught two passes for 35 yards, one of which set up a Wolverines’ touchdown in the dramatic 27-23 loss.
He also returned six kicks for 129 yards.
In August, Peppers said he is a better offensive player, but defense is more fun. The Gophers might agree. Whenever Michigan needed to make a big play on offense, Peppers trotted onto the field.
The Wolverines even went to him late in the fourth quarter trailing 26-21, on second-and-7 at the Minnesota 9-yard line. Peppers took a snap in the wildcat formation, but this time the Gophers sacked him for a 3-yard loss.
The rest of the night Peppers had his way against the Gophers’ defense, offense and special teams.