- Courtesy of Collegiate High School
By Jake Lourim, Daily Sports Writer
Published January 2, 2014
Michigan football fans haven’t had a lot to cheer for lately.
The Wolverines wrapped up 2013 with a 31-14 loss to Kansas State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl and rang in 2014 by watching in-state rival Michigan State celebrate a Rose Bowl win over Stanford.
But on Thursday, six Michigan football commits played on a national stage in the Under Armour All-American game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. Seven other recruits who committed on-site stole some of the attention, but the future Wolverines put together some highlights that should satisfy coaches and fans.
Defensive back Jabrill Peppers, quarterback Wilton Speight, linebacker Michael Ferns, linebacker Jared Wangler, offensive tackle Juwann Bushell-Beatty and defensive tackle Bryan Mone each played on the Nitro team, which lost 31-21.
Jabrill Peppers, defensive back/running back: ESPN (No. 2) Scout (No. 4)
Peppers played almost every snap at cornerback for the Nitro team. According to reports, he was more impressive in practices during the week, and ESPN analyst Tom Luginbill called Peppers the most athletic player in the game.
At his worst, he missed a tackle that allowed a receiver to escape 18 yards down the sideline. At his best, he snuck inside off the edge and blocked a field goal. (The block was called an “illegal blitz” only for the game.) Late in the game, Luginbill listed Peppers as one of four recruits who could make an immediate impact.
Peppers also lined up to return kicks, running back two for a combined 65 yards. He returned one before being tripped up at the 30-yard line, slamming the turf when he went down. In the first quarter, he lined up as the wildcat quarterback and threw a screen pass for a loss on fourth down.
Wilton Speight, quarterback: Ranking: ESPN (No. 128) Scout (NR)
Speight started at quarterback for the Nitro team and played three series, finishing with a turnover on downs, a punt and an interception. Speight showed his strong arm early, most notably in the first quarter, when he rolled out and found an open receiver on the run.
On the first series, Speight threw down the sideline for 37 yards on third-and-nine. He threw an interception to No. 2 cornerback Adoree’ Jackson in the end zone and never came back in.
He finished two-for-six with 63 yards in addition to three carries for eight yards.
Juwann Bushell-Beatty, offensive tackle: ESPN (No. 124) Scout (NR)
Bushell-Beatty, a 6-foot-7, 330-pound offensive tackle from Paramus Catholic (N.J.), started and played most of the game at left tackle.
Bryan Mone, defensive tackle; Michael Ferns, linebacker; Jared Wangler, linebacker; Did not finish on the box score.