Jabrill Peppers Declares For NFL Draft

Michigan star Jabrill Peppers announced Tuesday that he will forego his final two years of eligibility and enter the 2017 NFL Draft.

It seemed inevitable, and now it’s official.

Michigan superstar Jabrill Peppers officially declared for the NFL Draft on Tuesday, ending speculation about his future. Peppers confirmed his decision in an exclusive interview with Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel. The full story is posted on SI’s website.

“It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” Peppers told SI. “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.”

Peppers said he reflected about the decision over the weekend with his family in New Jersey and told Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh on Monday that he would be leaving for the NFL. He emerged as a Heisman Trophy finalist in his redshirt sophomore season, playing multiple positions on defense while contributing offensively and in the return game.

Peppers recorded 15.5 tackles for loss this season while playing mostly linebacker and intercepted the only pass of his career in the double-overtime loss to Ohio State. He also played some safety, his primary position last year.

There were rumors that Peppers decided to sit out Michigan’s Orange Bowl loss to Florida State in order to avoid risking injury ahead of his NFL career, but he tearfully explained he wished to be on the field with his teammates and the decision was not made for that reason. Peppers hurt his hamstring and was a late scratch against the Seminoles.

A report last week said that Peppers had already made the decision to turn pro and had signed on with an agent. He refuted that report on Twitter.

Peppers likely will be among the first 15 players taken in the 2017 NFL Draft.

MORE: Big Ten Football Predictions, Storylines For 2017