Jabrill Peppers is the best cornerback in New Jersey, if not all of America, which means he’s also the best test of talent for wide receivers in New Jersey.
Dwight Morrow (N.J.) wide receiver Juwann Winfree has played against Peppers, Maroon Raiders coach Barry Harris said Saturday. They went head-to-head in 7-on-7 competition earlier this year. Winfree had a few catches, Harris said. That might have been the most Peppers allowed all of 2013.
A four-star prospect who committed to Maryland on Friday, Winfree is not considered the blue-chip talent Peppers is. That is probably fine with Winfree, who would rather be compared with another former five-star, anyway.
“The opportunity to get under the tutelage of Stefon Diggs — he really respects him as a great wide receiver,” Harris said. “He hopes to get the opportunity of stepping into those shoes.”
Winfree also considered Georgia, Pitt and West Virginia. But his visit to M&T Bank Stadium last Saturday “sold him” on Maryland, Harris said. By Friday morning, recruiter Keith Dudzinski and coach Randy Edsall had good news: Their top wide-out target, and likely their only one at the position for the Class of 2014, had said yes.
“Coach Dudz is a top-class recruiter,” Harris said. “If anyone wants a great recruiter, he’s the guy you want. He was up-front. He was honest. He was honest as far letting him know how much Maryland wanted him.”
A two-way standout at Dwight Morrow, Winfree dazzles at wide receiver. He stars at safety. But he is a “playmaker,” Harris said, so “you want the ball in his hands.”
Because Diggs is not so easily imitated, Winfree is at least as diligent in his preparation. An honors-level student, Winfree works hard — on running routes, on catching the ball with his hands, on making people miss, on getting faster and stronger and better. “He’s the type of kid that loves to watch film and know what the other team’s tendencies are,” Harris said. “He’s always trying to figure out what he’s doing wrong and what he can do better.”
Added Harris: “He’s going to work on his craft.”
He’s just not that outspoken about it.
“His downfall is that he’s probably not a very vocal kid, but he is the kid of who will display leadership through his work and his commitment,” Harris said. “He’ll stay late, he’ll come in early. I wish he’d be more of a vocal leader. I think as he comes into the college ranks, he’s going to be a little more outgoing as far as a vocal leader. He’s still a very shy kid. That’s just where he is.”
He didn’t need an extravagant ceremony to announce where he’s going, either. Said Harris: “The word is out.”
twitter.com/jonas_shafferCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun