Every fan and lover of American footballer knows the importance of a strong safety in the game; it has to be someone who is physically fit because he plays a very critical role in the defense as he has to be able to tackle and at the same time stop the run. So, when the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL) were looking for the right man for the job at the 2017 NFL Draft, they made no mistake in selecting Jabrill Peppers.
He may be new in the NFL, but Peppers is definitely not new in the game of football which he began playing since high school and built on during his college years at Michigan. While there, he earned several titles and accolades including the Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year title, the Freshman All-American, and a Second-Team All-American.
Who Is Jabrill Peppers? – Biography
Jabril was born in East Orange, New Jersey, on the 4th of October 1995 as Jabrill Ahmad Peppers. He has always loved football way back in his days at Don Bosco Preparatory High School, Ramsey, New Jersey; as a student of the above-named school, Peppers played the cornerback position as a freshman before switching over to the running back position as a sophomore. During his time with the school team, they won the New Jersey state championships twice in a row (2010 and 2011). The team was also ranked among the nation’s top teams by USA Today in 2011.
Peppers didn’t finish his high school at Don Bosco but at Paramus Catholic High School, Paramus, New Jersey, where he also helped the school’s football team win the state championship. In that same year, MSG Varsity named him Player of the Year. He also led the school to another state championship as a senior which they also emerged which they also emerged winners; thus, Jabrill Peppers won four state championships as a high school students. During the 2013/2014 season, he was selected to participate in the Under Armour All-America Game.
Rivals.com recruiting network named Jabril on their list five-star recruits in the Class of 2014, while ESPN ranked him #1 prospect in the 2014 class and second best in the class after Leonard Fournette. Peppers announced his commitment to the Michigan Wolverines verbally in a live telecast on ESPN in May 2013.
As a freshman (true) at Michigan Jabril played in just three games; his first career start was in a game against Appalachian State, despite returning one punt for 6 yards and recording 2 tackles, he sustained an injury that left him redshirted for the rest of the freshman season.
During the 2015 season, he was named the Big Ten Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year, All-Big Ten defensive first-team (by coaches and media) the All-Big Ten special teams second-team (by coaches), Second-Team All-American by both Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports and to the Freshman All-America Team by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), these are only a few to mention of all the accolades he received that year. At the end of that season, he gained five hundred and sixty-eight all-purpose yards – that is an average of 47.3 yards per game, this made him the fifth man on the team.
2016 was another tremendous year for Jabril Peppers as it saw him win several other awards which include the Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year, Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year, a Unanimous All-American, Rodgers-White Return Specialist of the Year, among others.
Peppers became the first player in the history of Big Ten to receive three individual honors since it expanded its individual award recognition program. After the 2016 season, he announced he would be forgoing his last two seasons of NCAA eligibility for the 2017 NFL Draft.
At the 2017 NFL Draft, Cleveland Browns selected Jabrill Peppers 25th overall in the first round of the draft, making him the third safety to be drafted that season after Jamal Adams who was sixth overall and Malik Hooker who was fifteenth overall.
In July of the same year, he signed a four-year contract with the franchise worth $4.7 million; the deal came with a signing bonus of $5.6 million.
At the end of the training camp, coach Hue Jackson named him the starting free safety for the regular season alongside Derrick Kindred. He was also named the starting punt returner and kick returner. He kicked off the regular season in the franchise’s opening game with Pittsburgh Steelers and although the game ended in a 21-18, Peppers recorded 4 combined tackles and a pass. At the end of the season, he was lined up as a free safety for 88.2% of the defensive snaps and received an overall grade of 45.5 from Pro Football Focus.
In 2018, he was elected to the position of strong safety; he also retained his position as the starting punt returner and kick returner.
His Family – Dad
Jabrill Peppers is the son of Ivory Bryant and Terry Peppers. He was raised in East Orange, NJ, by his mom after his dad was arrested and jailed for being involved in a racketeering case as a member of the Bloods street gang; Jabriel was just seven when his dad was arrested and jailed. Terry was later released from prison in 2014. Peppers had an older brother named Don Curtis who was shot in January 2010 while standing at the counter of a restaurant in Newark, NJ.
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Height And Weight
The NFL strong safety stands at a height of 1.85 m, which translates to 6 ft 1 inch and weighs 97 kg ( 214 pounds). His other body stats are yet to be confirmed.