Perhaps no freshman is entering the Big Ten this season with as much hype as Jabrill Peppers.
And with good reason: The Michigan defensive back was the No. 3-ranked recruit in the Class of 2014, per Rivals.
In fact, Peppers' athletic ability has been so drooled-over, that people keep asking Brady Hoke if he'll play on both defense and offense.
But there are some who warn that expectations should be tempered. And some of those people wear Michigan uniforms.
“He had that ability in high school. You never know what a person’s got coming to college," Michigan defensive lineman Frank Clark said Monday at Big Ten Media Day. "So I’m not going to boost anybody, but I want to see him be the best player he can be coming in and playing for Michigan. Everything that he had up until now, it doesn’t matter. All the high school accolades, it doesn’t matter. When you get to college, you have a new journey, a new career. High school doesn’t matter. High school’s easy for everybody at a point. It’s what you can do in college that matters now, for him at least.”
“There’s always those little things as a freshman that you need to tweak, and everyone has those, I had them," linebacker Jake Ryan said. "But good kid, brings in energy. He’s a real good player.”
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It's good advice, really. And Michigan fans should know not to place such large expectations on freshmen. Hoke has bemoaned much of the offseason how top-ranked freshman running backs Derrick Green and De'Veon Smith failed to take on large-enough roles last season. They'll be the featured backs in 2014, but with as bad as the Wolverines' rushing attack was last year, perhaps they should have been featured backs a little sooner.
The same goes for Peppers, who's expected to serve as a nickel back at first for Hoke & Co. Despite all the hype, remember that this will be Peppers' freshman year of college, a year of trying transition whether you're playing Big Ten football or not.
"The plan hasn't changed. I think we've got to be careful about anointing any true freshmen starting their college career, but that's where he will start," Hoke said.
"Let's anoint him when he does something, right? I mean, let's see what he can do."