By: Will Burchfield
In a move that many saw coming, Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers has officially declared for the NFL draft.
The story was first reported by Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel and later confirmed by Peppers via Twitter.
“It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” Peppers told SI.com. “I’m choosing between cementing my legacy as a college player and starting my pro legacy. It’s something you dream of when you were a kid. I was torn between the two.”
The versatile Peppers played 15 different positions for Michigan this season, logging most of his time at linebacker. He projects as a safety in the NFL, and most experts believe he’ll be a first-round pick in this year’s draft.
According to SI, Peppers made up his mind to enter the draft while visiting his family this past weekend. When he returned to campus on Monday, he broke the news to Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh.
“He thanked me and told me it was a pleasure to coach me,” Peppers said, via SI.com. “I told him it was a pleasure to play for him. He molded me for the next level, that’s how he operates. He runs his program like an NFL team. He’s done more than enough to prepare me for this moment.”
Among others, Peppers also thanked former Michigan coach Brady Hoke, who recruited him to the University, and his former high school coach and current Michigan assistant Chris Partridge.
He recognized the support of his teammates, professors and the Michigan fan base as well.
“It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” he reiterated. “Not just because I love this place and the guys around me and the fans and the school. I feel like I was cheated out of the college experience getting hurt my freshman year. I really only played two years for the university that I love.”
But Peppers is excited for what lies ahead: the opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream.
“Now that it’s here, it’s surreal,” he said. “I’m not going to take the opportunity for granted. It’s time to work harder than I ever did and show folks what I’m made of.”