Big Ten Signing Day: Wolverines land top recruit in Peppers

Big Ten Signing Day: Wolverines land top recruit in Peppers
February 6, 2014, 6:15 pm
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Vinnie Duber

Big Ten Signing Day

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There are few days as frantic as National Signing Day. And sometimes it can be a difficult enough task to try and keep up with news of one team, let alone 12 of them.

Well, now that all the Signing Day hubbub has died down, it’s a good time to take a look at what happened in the Big Ten. How did the teams do? Who are the big-name recruits coming to the conference next season? And how happy were the coaches with their respective hauls? We’ve broken it down, team-by-team.

Michigan Wolverines

(Rivals rankings: 4th Big Ten, 31st nationally)

There will be a lot of talk about the recruits Michigan missed out on — namely No. 1 overall recruit Da’Shawn Hand — but the Wolverines did land the third-ranked recruit in the country in defensive back Jabrill Peppers, the New Jersey native who had offers from everywhere including the likes of Alabama, Notre Dame, LSU, Ohio State and USC. There's so much buzz about Peppers, that some are hoping he's the second coming of Charles Woodson, excelling in numerous phases of the game.

And whether the Michigan faithful are proud of it or not, six four-star recruits to go along with Peppers isn’t a bad haul. The Wolverines’ class included the sixth-best offensive tackle in the country (Mason Cole), the ninth-best tight end in the country (Ian Bunting), the 14th-best inside linebacker in the country (Michael Ferns), the 18th-best outside linebacker in the country (Chase Winovich) and three of the top 61 wide receivers in the country (Drake Harris, Freddy Canteen and Maurice Ways).

[MORE: Shot at Northwestern reminds of Illini in-state struggles]

Recruits in Rivals 250:

3. Jabrill Peppers, five-star defensive back (Paramus, N.J.)
92. Mason Cole, four-star offensive lineman (Tarpon Springs, Fla.)
115. Drake Harris, four-star wide receiver (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
211. Michael Ferns, four-star linebacker (Saint Clairsville, Ohio)

Coach speak: "I think that we need to let him get in here and be a corner for a while and let him get acclimated to everything about college football,” Brady Hoke said when asked if Peppers could be more than just a defensive back. “Do I think he's very talented? There is no question. Can he return kicks, could he? I don't think there is any doubt about it. Could there be a plan somewhere for him offensively? There could be. But let's let the kid walk on campus, go to a class during the summer, and be a freshman, and then let what he does speak for itself."