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November 6, 2012
Class of 2014 First Five-Stars: Jabrill Peppers
They are the best of the best. The players wanted by every program and destined to make a big impact at the college level and beyond.
Rivals.com has identified the first five-star prospects for the 2014 class and is unveiling them this week. Ten prospects have been awarded five-stars but are not ranked at this time and we will profile two each day. One of today's five-stars is Paramus (N.J.) Paramus Catholic cornerback Jabrill Peppers.
Jabrill Peppers, CB, Paramus (N.J.) Paramus Catholic
Attributes: 6-0/190, 4.5 40
Scouting report: Peppers is a solidly built, tough, fast athlete who could play multiple positions in college. As a defensive back, Peppers has the proper footwork, speed and explosiveness to stick with just about any wide receiver and he isn't afraid to come up and stop the run. His agility and closing speed make him nearly impossible to shake. Peppers can see the play develop and breaks on the ball or ball-carrier very quickly and finishes with aggressiveness. Offensively, Peppers can carry the load as a running back. He runs very hard and is tough to bring down with just one defender. Peppers can outrun defenders or juke them using his agility and quick feet. He is also a viable receiver. He has the ability to make tough catches, shows great concentration when making a catch in traffic, and runs good routes. He prefers cornerback and his future is in the defensive backfield, but he is one of the nation's most versatile players.
Analyst's take: "Physical tools aside, Peppers' leadership qualities and toughness set him apart from other players with comparable measurables and should prove invaluable at the next level. Peppers has a variety of skills that make him an excellent all-around athlete. His toughness and aggressive mentality make him a shoe-in for the defensive side of the ball, most likely at cornerback. Peppers' technique and footwork make it extremely difficult for a receiver to get any separation, especially because Peppers has great closing speed. He is very physical when going in for a tackle and is always a threat when it comes to causing a turnover, whether he is picking off a pass or causing a fumble. He is even a disruptive force when rushing the passer because he disguises the blitz and has the speed and strength to beat the blocker." -- Adam Friedman, Mid-Atlantic Analyst, Rivals.com
Why he's a five-star: "Peppers could easily be a running back in college, but he knows he's more special as a cornerback. If he continues to grow and fill out, he could end up at safety as well, but he will not lose his ability to match up in single coverage and be physical in press. Peppers also has very impressive instincts in coverage and is more than willing to come up and hit in run support. He has a very thick build and reminds me of a bigger Joe Haden coming out of high school, a great athlete who plays all over the field and could have an All-American career in college." -- Mike Farrell, National Recruiting Analyst, Rivals.com
His coach says: "Put aside the fact that he's 205 pounds and physical and extremely fast, his mentality and the mental aspects of his game, I think, make him what he is. He is so smart on and off the field and he really gets it. He understands the game. He feels it out and understands the schemes and what we are trying to do. His leadership is also great. He really is the total package. His work ethic is excellent. He is a competitor in everything he does. You can't ask for anything more and he's a leader and pushes his teammates. I can't predict the future but the sky is the limit for Jabrill. If he stays on this path, we're going to see some great things out of him. When he does move on, he's going to choose the right place and do some big things with his life." -- Paramus Catholic coach Chris Partridge
Odds and ends: Peppers, a two-way starter at Paramus Catholic, transferred before the start of this season from national powerhouse Don Bosco Prep where he was a two-way starter as a sophomore. ... Since his transfer, Peppers has reportedly packed on 12 pounds of muscle. ... Peppers is interested in becoming a doctor. ... Peppers has been a starter at cornerback since his freshman year at Bosco and became an offensive threat as a sophomore.
NFL player comparison: Joe Haden, Cleveland Browns