|Image via here|
Lets start with a little rundown of Peppers timeline and how this recruitment has shaped up to this point courtesy of 247 Sports:
"Jan. 9, 2011 – Named the U.S. Air Force 2010 National Freshman Of The Year.As you can see, besides Michigan, Penn St., OSU, and Stanford have recruited him the hardest. Can you tell Peppers is interested in the academic side of things? Minus you-know-who of course. Anywho, after taking visits, Michigan stood out the most, calling it "mind-blowing" and it seems that weekend in AA may have been enough to put Michigan on top for good:
Jan. 26, 2012 – Named a 247Sports Sophomore All-American and National Defensive Player Of The Year
Feb. 8, 2012 – Transfers from Don Bosco Prep to Paramus Catholic.
Nov. 13, 2012 – Stanford and Ohio State emerge as the leaders for Peppers.
Dec. 7, 2012 – Stanford head coach David Shaw visits Paramus Catholic.
Dec. 10, 2012 – Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer visits Paramus Catholic.
Jan. 14, 2013 – Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien visits Paramus Catholic.
Jan. 15, 2013 – Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly visits Paramus Catholic
Jan. 17, 2013 – Michigan head coach Brady Hoke visits Paramus Catholic
Feb. 20, 2013 – Peppers visits Penn State with his head coach Chris Partridge and two teammates.
April 3, 2013 – Peppers visits Michigan with two of his coaches and teammate Juwann Bushell-Beatty. They stay in Ann Arbor for two days.
April 5, 2013 – The same crew that visited Michigan heads to Ohio State for a two-day visit.
April 7, 2013 – Michigan emerges as the leader for Peppers.
April 13, 2013 – Peppers visits LSU with one of his coaches"
“All in all, it was a really, really great visit and they exceeded expectations. I definitely didn’t think it would be that mind-blowing. Talking about the Big House, I grew up a Michigan fan as everyone knows, so I watched a lot of my favorite players perform in the Big House during big games from the Charles Woodsons to the Tom Bradys to the Mario Manninghams to the Braylon Edwards. Just all those guys that set the groundwork and foundation for that program, even guys before that, just being on the that field and seeing it for the first time in person was really mind blowing and electrifying.”This reaction doesn't come as much of a surprise since Peppers has been a huge Michigan fan his whole life. It hasn't always been smooth-sailing on the Peppers front RE: Michigan though. Last month Peppers had scheduled a visit to Stanford, his previously leader. It proved difficult to make it out to Palo Alto because of a grueling weekend track schedule, so nothing ever came of it. A few weeks later, in a surprise move, he decided to schedule a visit to Happy Valley and take in Penn. St. Once again, the plans fell through the roof. Lastly, a surprise visit was mentioned by Peppers that occurred yesterday. Still, no one knows the location of that visit. Dodged a few bullets there.
My take: Peppers simply kept it quiet because he actually visited AA to tell Hoke and co. his choice in person. It's the only thing that makes sense at this point. The only threat, Stanford, never got a visit, PSU visit got cancelled, and now a "secret visit." Rutgers could be the only other logical choice to receive the visit. I only say this based off 247's Gerry Hamilton crystal ball prediction of Rutgers for Peppers. As of today though, Hamilton has changed his prediction back to Michigan to join the other 26 analysts.
My Prediciton: If Michigan isn't the choice, suicide watch will be in full affect for everyone associated with the Michigan program. No other threat exists and Sunday looks to be an historic day for Michigan as it pulls in one of the highest recruits since rankings came about. A commitment from Peppers will only help solidify the top recruiting class for 2014 (ESPN).
I'll end with a really interesting connection and some wow factor. TomVH, of ESPN's Wolverine Nation, got a chance to talk to a member of hip hop group Naughty by Nature, who has an affiliation the Peppers family. Peppers is an avid hip-hop artist. And the wow factor...the top 5 plays of Peppers high school career, put together by MSG Varsity.
Make sure to tune in to ESPNU at 5:15 this Sunday for Peppers anouncement and check out Maizenbluenation.com shortly after (fingers crossed).
Shot 1: Elite 11 Update
'14 commit QB Wilton Speight traveled all the way from Virgina to California to compete against top QB competition, trying to earn a spot in the Elite 11 finals. While Speight had a solid day, he still has some things to work on as Trent Dilfer tells 247's Barton Simmons:
"Dilfer on Speight: “He had a nice day. He’s obviously a very physical kid, tall, strong. I think he’s got to get more organized. Everything’s just got to get more organized for him to be consistent. That’s typical for a lot of linear guys. There’s a lot of moving parts.”It's not a surprise to hear this as most big QB's have this same problem and it all comes down to honing in on his mechanics and really tightening up his delivery and form. Something Speight does not lack is accuracy downfield. He threw arguably the best deep ball of the group, which you can see for yourself in the highlights put together by ESPN.
Shot 2: '15 QB Offer Already Out
A few days ago, the Michigan staff put out an offer to '15 CA QB Josh Rosen. California is LOADED at the QB position in the '15 class and Rosen is an early 5-star (247). Hoke and co have already identified the guy they want. Kind of surprising after seeing how picky they were in offering a QB in next years class. He's a Shane Morris clone size and release wise. He shows great pocket presence and has a nice touch on his deep balls. Sophomore Highlights:
Double Shot: Sayonara Suckas
'14 OL Alex Bars committed to Notre Dame. Bars, who's brothers with current OL Blake Bars, was considered the top remaining OL target.
'14 WR Saeed Blacknall has released a top 5 and Michigan did not make the list. Blacknall was considered one of three remaining WR prospects. Look's like it's down to Artavis Scott and KJ Williams for the last spot.