Saquon Barkley, Jabrill Peppers crack Bruce Feldman's annual 'Freaks' list
You’d be hard-pressed to find two players in the B1G receiving more preseason hype than Saquon Barkley and Jabrill Peppers, and for good reason.
Barkley took the league by storm and set a Penn State freshman record for rushing yards in a season. His Illinois hurdle is still being talked about by Penn State players.
Then there’s Peppers, who played about six different positions in his redshirt freshman season at Michigan. Now at linebacker, Jim Harbaugh said that he could be the team’s best slot receiver, he could be an option quarterback and he could challenge for the starting tailback job.
That sounds like a couple of freaks.
That’s why Bruce Feldman put both of them on his annual ‘Freaks’ list. The Fox Sports college football writer put Peppers at No. 10 and Barkley at No. 9. Also on the list was former Iowa receiver Derrick Willies, who transferred to Texas Tech.
Here’s what Feldman wrote about Peppers:
A former state 100- and 200-meter champion from New Jersey, the 6-1, 208-pound Peppers has been the ultimate X-factor guy for the Wolverines and could be an even bigger factor in new DC Don Brown’s scheme. “He’s one of our best cover guys,” said Jim Harbaugh. “He’s our best nickel guy by far. He can play linebacker. … He can rush the passer. He can cover anybody. Put him on the other side of the ball, he’d probably be our best slot receiver. He could give anybody a run for their money as our best tailback. He’s a Jim Thorpe type of guy. … I’d hate to diminish anyone but off the top of my head I can’t think of anyone (in college that I’ve coached) more athletic than Jabrill.” Peppers displayed his blazing speed this spring when he clocked a 4.34 40 last month. “He’s the most explosive human being I’ve ever seen,” said star TE Jake Butt.
And here’s what Feldman wrote about Barkley:
Coming off a dazzling freshman season, Barkley has a lot of folks excited to see just how far he can help lead the Nittany Lions. The 5-11, 223-pounder ran for 1,076 yards, breaking a 32-year D.J. Dozier school record for a freshman. Barkley showed how special he can be when he gashed a very talented Ohio State defense for 194 yards at OSU. This offseason, Barkley has also displayed some of that explosiveness, setting a program-record 390-pound power clean. He also had a 600-pound squat, to go with a team-best 4.38 40, a 10-foot-1 broad jump, a 380-pound bench and a 4.00 pro agility time, which would’ve been the quickest by any RB at the NFL Combine in 2016. (The quickest was a 4.12 by Northwestern’s Dan Vitale.)
Need a reminder of how dynamic Barkley and Peppers are? A few of these highlight reel plays should do the trick: