As has been expected for quite a bit of time, the top recruit in Michigan’s most recent class won’t step foot on the field again in 2014.
Wednesday afternoon, head coach (for now) Brady Hoke confirmed that Jabrill Peppers will not play again this season and will take a medical redshirt. Peppers has been hampered by health issues the entire 2014 season.
Two separate leg injuries have cost Peppers significant playing time during his true freshman season. The Wolverines have played nine games this season, with the cornerback missing six full contests. He’s missed parts of two others due to the health issues.
“We’re going to redshirt him for this year,” Hoke said. “Him and I have had a lot of different conversations, I’ve talked with his mother, doctors, trainers and everybody that should be included in the conversation.
“But he’s taking care of himself (physically). He’s been great with treatments and rehab and all those things. He’s doing a tremendous job in school right now academically and he’s excited about whenever he can get back on the field. His (health) has improved, but he’s not going to be where you’d want a guy to be who has that kind of ability (this year).”
Because he played in less than 30 percent of UM’s games and because none of that playing time came after the halfway point of the season, he will qualify for a medical waiver.
Peppers was a consensus five-star recruit in 2014, rated as the No. 1 corner and the No. 3 player at any position in the country. Peppers served as the highest-rated recruit UM has ever signed since the founding of Rivals‘ back in 2002. The previous high was Ryan Mallett as the No. 4 player in the Class of 2007.
Entering his first season in Ann Arbor, Peppers earned a starting job at both corner and on the punt return unit. He started the opener against Appalachian State as the nickel corner, and played in three games total.
After a series of high-profile renegings by transfer wide receivers this offseason, Illinois was able to hold on to a commitment from ex-USC Trojan Trevon Sidney. Unfortunately for both the player and the program, that first season in Champaign has turned out to be a truncated one.
During the loss to Minnesota in Week 6, Trevon Sidney went down with an unspecified lower-leg injury. Sidney missed the next two games, including the huge Week 8 upset of then-No. 6 Wisconsin.
Three days later, Lovie Smith confirmed that Sidney will miss the remainder of the 2019 season. According to the head coach, Smith recently underwent surgery to repair what is still an unspecified injury.
Despite missing a pair of games, Sidney is still third on the Fighting Illini in receptions with 16. His 123 yards are also fourth on the team.
The good news, such as it is, is that Sidney has another season of eligibility he can use in 2020.
How ’bout them Cowboys? Urban Meyer‘s answer to a somewhat similar question has kicked up a bit of a kerfuffle.
Meyer, less than a year into his second retirement from coaching and in the midst of being lauded for his work as a college football analyst, appeared on Colin Cowherd‘s radio show late last week. During the course of the interview, the ex-Ohio State and Florida head coach was asked about the not-vacant-yet job with the Dallas Cowboys and if he would want it.
“Sure. Absolutely. Absolutely. That one? Yes.”
Fast-forward a couple of days and the Cowboys’ owner has responded to what many are considering a not-so-thinly-veiled overture on Meyer’s part.
Jason Garrett, the current Cowboys head coach, is in the final year of his contract, which has led to the RPMs on that section of the coaching rumor mill ratcheting up significantly.
In addition to the Cowboys, Meyer was connected to the not-yet-vacant job at USC perhaps nanoseconds after his retirement was official. Yesterday, our own Zach Barnett put Meyer as Florida State’s top target if the Seminoles move on from the Willie Taggart experiment, which thus far has been an abject failure by any measure.
Of course, if any of the upper-echelon Power Five schools end up searching for a new coach, Meyer will be at the top of their list as well. Whether Meyer is attainable is another matter entirely.
All of a sudden, there’s a bit of upheaval in Miami’s receiving corps.
Earlier today, we noted the long-running, ongoing drama that is the Jeff Thomas Experience at The U. Monday evening, Brian Hightower added to the collective positional brouhaha by announcing on Twitter that, “[a]fter careful consideration and discussion with my family, and THE University of Miami coaching staff, I am entering my name into the transfer portal to openly explore the best opportunities to utilize my remaining eligibility and pursue my education.”
A four-star member of Miami’s 2018 recruiting class, Hightower was rated as the No. 27 receiver in the country. Mark Pope was the only receiver in The U’s class that year rated higher than Hightower.
Hightower played in 17 games during his time with the Hurricanes — 10 as a true freshman, all seven this season. He totaled 148 yards and one touchdown on 12 receptions, with eight of those catches and 88 of the yards coming in 2019.
When Iowa kicks off its Week 9 matchup with Northwestern, the Hawkeyes could very well be at less than full strength on both sides of the football.
The Hawkeyes released its depth chart Monday for this Saturday’s game against the Wildcats, and neither wide receiver Brandon Smith nor middle linebacker Kristian Welch weren’t listed. Smith suffered an injury to his lower right leg in the win over Purdue this past Saturday, while Welch suffered an undisclosed injury during the loss the week before to Penn State and didn’t see the field against Purdue.
Official word on the pair’s status for Week 9 probably won’t come until later on in the week.
Smith currently leads the Hawkeyes with 33 receptions and four receiving touchdowns. His 407 yards receiving are good for second on the team.
Welch’s 47 tackles are nine more than the Hawkeyes’ second-leading tackler, Jack Koerner. With three tackles for loss, he’s second only to Chauncey Golston‘s five.