By Ashley Dunkak
CBS DETROIT – On National Signing Day 2014, Michigan received commitments from 16 high school players, including five-star recruit Jabrill Peppers, who made Wolverines nervous in November when he tweeted that he would be visiting other schools despite being committed to Michigan.
Ultimately, despite any dalliances, Peppers will be playing for the Wolverines. At the time Michigan announced its class was complete, 247sports.com ranked the Wolverines’ group as 18th-best in the nation.
“We really like the class,” head coach Brady Hoke told CBSSports.com in a telephone interview Wednesday morning. “We like the seven guys who came in early in January and are getting acclimated to Michigan and Michigan football, and the guys who signed today. Every school has a blueprint for what kind of student-athlete you want at your university, and all these guys fit the blueprint that we want here at Michigan.”
Peppers and teammate Juwann Bushell-Beatty, an offensive tackle, both chose the Wolverines, so the Michigan staff are quite familiar with their high school in Paramus, N.J.
“We spent a lot of time here last spring,” Hoke said. “His coaches came out and we talked football, did all those things. Jabrill and Juwan both came out. They got to be around our players, they got to see our academics and the support systems that we have and the wellness plan that we have for all of our student-athletes and our players and just the vision. Jabrill was a guy who grew up being a Michigan fan. You like those guys who want to be at Michigan because they have a dream of being here.”
Hoke heartily agreed that both offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier and defensive coordinator Greg Mattison would like to have Peppers, but the Wolverines will play Peppers at cornerback. Michigan has some talent coming on the offensive side of the ball too, including Freddy Canteen and Drake Harris.
“Freddy is more of a slot, he’s a 6-1 guy, very quick, great movement, can get out of breaks very well and has that acceleration speed that you really like to see,” Hoke said. “Drake is a guy who was at one time committed to play basketball at Michigan State, so it speaks a little bit to his athleticism, but decided that he was going to go the football route, 6-4 and a guy that can get up and get the ball. Both those guys are guys that we’re excited about, and they’re going to have a little head start because they’re here in January.”
The defensive line should get a boost from 6-feet-4-inch, 328-pound Bryan Mone, a defensive tackle out of Salt Lake City, Utah, who played in the 2014 Under Armour All-America Game.
“I think Bryan Mone is very explosive, tough, can get off blocks well, he’s going to be somebody in the middle, I think, that’s going to really be able to push the pocket in the those passing situations that we needed to do a better job with,” Hoke said. “And also, I think his ability to hold the point of attack and get off the block because of how he uses his hands. I think that’s a real plus.”
When Hoke spoke with CBS, he was waiting on one more possible commitment but that the rest of the class is in place.
“It’s always an exciting day,” Hoke said. “You think you know what’s going to happen, but there’s always a surprise or two, but everything’s gone well.”
Below are all 16 of Michigan’s signees, per the team’s official Twitter account.
Michigan went 7-6 in 2013, winning just three Big Ten games. Offensive coordinator Al Borges was fired after the season.