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Who is this season’s Jabrill Peppers on each Top 25 team?

Jabrill Peppers provided Michigan with a versatility that not every college football team can enjoy. Which player on each team in Mark Schlabach’s post-spring Top 25 comes closest to filling that do-everything role?


Defensive end Sam Hubbard added some linebacker to his skill set this spring and, in the process, gave the Buckeyes’ defense a wealth of options to make the most of its uber-talented defensive front. Hubbard has been on the line during most of his Ohio State career, but he has worked at tight end in the past. And if the Buckeyes’ national runner-up lacrosse team needs an extra midfielder, the onetime Notre Dame lacrosse commit would be a pretty good option there too. — Dan Murphy


There may not be a better true comparison for Peppers’ skill set in college football than FSU safety Derwin James, who hasn’t been utilized on offense but certainly could make the jump if coach Jimbo Fisher saw a need. James is taller than Peppers, but they fit a similar role — quick, versatile, athletic members of the secondary, playing all over on the back end. A knee injury stunted James’ 2016 season, but he’s already being projected as a top-five draft pick next spring. — David M. Hale


Minkah Fitzpatrick has played at least four different positions in the Tide secondary, but the title that most fits the rising junior is that of “star” or dime cornerback. Last season he had three interceptions playing cornerback against Arkansas. Then a month later, after taking over at safety for an injured Eddie Jackson, he had a key fourth-quarter interception against LSU. — Alex Scarborough


After being eased into the mix as a true freshman, returning cornerback Jack Jones has the potential to help the Trojans at corner, in the return game and, potentially, as a receiver from time to time. When he arrived in 2016, he was considered to be one of the most versatile players in his recruiting class. — Kyle Bonagura


Koa Farmer told reporters last fall that he considers himself a utility man on the Nittany Lions’ defense. The 222-pound athlete can play both linebacker and safety, as well as contribute on special teams. With cornerback/returner John Reid potentially out for the year, Farmer is Penn State’s most versatile threat. — Murphy


What do you do with your top returning cornerback who learned the position on the fly as a true freshman in 2014 — after starring as a high school quarterback? Move him to safety, of course. That’s what the Cowboys did with Ramon Richards, a former basketball and track standout who was recruited by Harvard and Yale. What can’t Richards do? — Mitch Sherman


OK, so he’s not exactly a Jabrill Peppers body type, but Christian Wilkins is definitely Clemson’s jack of all trades. He blossomed at defensive tackle as a freshman, then slid out to the edge when the Tigers needed help at end as a sophomore. He has chipped in as a lead blocker on jumbo packages, is a critical part of the kick-block teams, and has both run for and caught passes for first downs on special-teams plays. And now that Clemson has a question at quarterback, why not give Wilkins a try there, too? — Hale


Even though he rarely touches the ball, fullback Dimitri Flowers gives the Oklahoma offense tremendous flexibility. He’s a tenacious blocker and capable pass-catcher. Oh, and the one game he got to rush the ball, he delivered, posting a 22-carry, 115-yard effort in a win at Iowa State. — Jake Trotter


When ball carriers make contact with safety Jojo McIntosh, it’s easy to assume they’re running into a linebacker. He hits with that kind of force. We’re not saying he’ll necessarily see many responsibilities outside of his job at safety, but he could be effective playing closer to the line of scrimmage. — Bonagura


We all know how creative coach Gus Malzahn can get on offense. So be careful when you see John Franklin III check in at wide receiver this year. The speedy junior college transfer has made the transition to receiver this spring, but that doesn’t mean the former quarterback won’t get the opportunity to throw the ball on a trick play or two this season. — Scarborough


Jazz Peavy‘s speed can hurt you on the ground, through the air and in the return game. The senior is Wisconsin’s top returning scorer from the 2016 season. He had 635 receiving yards and another 318 rushing yards in a year when he emerged as a player that opponents had to account for on every snap. — Murphy


When Dave Aranda took over LSU’s defense, Arden Key went from an undersized defensive end to something else. Yes, Key is one of the most fearsome pass-rushers in the SEC. But at roughly 230 pounds, he’s not doing it from the trenches. As a hybrid outside linebacker, he can put his hand in the dirt or back off the line and play in space, covering a tight end or spare receiver when necessary. — Scarborough


Sophomore Mecole Hardman arrived at Georgia as a cornerback, but he spent this spring playing receiver. He even caught three passes for 62 yards during the spring game. Hardman, who is also running track for the Bulldogs, will stay at receiver for now, but he could move back to corner if the coaches feel they don’t have enough depth. He should return kicks this fall, too. — Edward Aschoff


The heir apparent for Jabrill Peppers’ old position in Ann Arbor is sophomore Khaleke Hudson, a hard-hitting hybrid who made some major special-teams contributions as a rookie. Coach Jim Harbaugh loves versatility and has options in players like fullback Khalid Hill and offensive lineman Mason Cole and some potential wide receiver/cornerback types, but for now Hudson best fits the bill. — Murphy


Among Miami skill players, wide receiver Braxton Berrios has been relied on to do just about everything. Not only does he line up in the slot, he’s been used in the run game and also returns punts and kicks. In the Russell Athletic Bowl win over West Virginia, he led Miami in all-purpose yards. –Andrea Adelson


In addition to being able to play multiple positions in the secondary, cornerback Terrence Alexander could be a viable return man with Christian McCaffrey off to the NFL. He also doubles as a sprinter on the Stanford track team. — Bonagura


Reggie Bonnafon was the starting quarterback during the early part of his career, but he has shifted to running back and receiver to maximize his athleticism and talent. He’s drawn raves for his vertical (43.5 inches last year) and his speed. Finding a more defined role will be key for Bonnafon in 2017. –Adelson


Not only did wide receiver Byron Pringle lead the Wildcats with 631 receiving yards last season, he topped the Big 12 in kick returns, too. If they ever needed an emergency running back, the Wildcats could probably stick Pringle in the backfield as well. — Trotter


A candidate for the Paul Hornung Award, D’Ernest Johnson is an All-American Conference returner who scored 14 touchdowns last season in three different ways (rushing, receiving, return). In his career, Johnson has 1,000 career rushing yards, 756 receiving yards and 12 special-teams tackles. –Adelson


David Sills held out hope that he could make his career at the quarterback position, going so far as to transfer last summer from WVU to junior college, where he threw for 1,636 yards in 2016. And then he returned to Morgantown, climbing quickly up the depth chart at receiver. At 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, Sills could probably play defense if it appealed to him. — Sherman


The Gators can line cornerback Duke Dawson up at any position in the secondary. He’s at his best when he’s at the nickelback spot, but he spent the spring as a boundary corner. If Florida needs him at safety, he could move there, too. — Aschoff


Talented sophomore Divine Deablo has just scratched the surface of his potential, but don’t be surprised if he blossoms into a terrific all-around player in 2017. He was an ESPN 300 recruit as a receiver, but he saw limited playing time last season. He’s shifted to the secondary this year, and while he’s not in line for a starting job yet, defensive coordinator Bud Foster has loved the progress he’s seen. Deablo has showcased his raw athleticism on special teams, where he was one of Virginia Tech’s most consistent players as a true freshman in 2016. –Hale


Jerrod Heard‘s versatility might have actually worked against his development in two years with the Longhorns. No doubt, it prevented him from settling earlier into his role at receiver. Heard started 10 games at quarterback as a redshirt freshman in 2015, then started two at wide receiver last year. As a junior, he looks set to open the season as a top outside receiver paired with Collin Johnson. — Sherman


After catching 56 passes for 1,129 yards last season, wide receiver Cedrick Wilson figures to be in line for an even bigger role in the offense thanks to the departure of Thomas Sperbeck. Wilson’s presence can be felt in other ways, however. He led the Broncos in kickoff and punt return yardage and even finished the year 2-for-2 passing for 84 yards and a touchdown. –Bonagura


In each of his three seasons at WSU, running back Jamal Morrow‘s rushing and receiving yardage totals have finished within 100 of each other. He heads into his senior year with 1,318 yards rushing and 1,242 yards receiving and is equally effective in both phases of the game. — Bonagura

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