June 12, 2017
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan Athletic Department announced Monday (June 12) that Brienne Minor (women's tennis) and Jabrill Peppers (football) have been named the 2016-17 U-M Athletes of the Year.
Minor is the second women's tennis athlete to win the award, joining Mary Mactaggart (1984). Peppers is the 11th football player to be named the Athlete of the Year and the first since Braylon Edwards won in 2005.
The University of Michigan Athlete of the Year Award was first presented in 1982. Both student-athletes are eligible to be named Big Ten Conference Athletes of the Year, the winners of which are determined by a media vote.
The following are biographical sketches on Minor and Peppers:
U-M FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Brienne Minor (Women's Tennis)
Minor became the first Wolverine in program history to win a national championship, taking home the 2017 NCAA singles title. Minor entered the national tournament unseeded before reeling off six straight wins, including three over top-16 seeds, to win the singles championship. Minor dropped just two sets along the way, capping off her championship with a 6-3, 6-3 win over No. 6 Belinda Woolcock -- the 2017 NCAA Tournament's Most Outstanding Player -- in the final match.
Minor also earned All-America honors in singles for the second consecutive season, making her just the third Wolverine in school history with multiple All-America citations in singles. Minor ended the season with a 33-6 singles record and a No. 9 ranking by the ITA. She went 19-5 in dual matches, playing exclusively at No. 1 (6-3) and No. 2 (13-2). Her No. 9 ranking to end the season is the second-highest ranking in school history.
Minor was a unanimous All-Big Ten selection for the second straight season and was named Big Ten Athlete of the Week twice as a sophomore. She was also a nominee for the Honda Award after winning her NCAA title.
U-M MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Jabrill Peppers (Football)
Peppers, a unanimous All-American and Heisman Trophy finalist who was voted the Bo Schembechler Most Valuable Player by his teammates at the annual Football Bust celebration, showed his range and versatility by contributing at 15 different positions on offense, defense and special teams during the 2016 season.
He was a semifinalist or finalist for eight major national college awards, winning the Paul Hornung Award as the nation's most versatile college football player as well as the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which is presented annually to the student-athlete who exhibits the characteristics displayed by Ronnie Lott during his career. Peppers also became the first athlete in Big Ten history to win three major conference accolades in the same year when he was recognized as the Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year, the Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year and the Rodgers-White Return Specialist of the Year.
This past fall, Peppers helped direct a Michigan defense that led the nation in total defense, pass defense, first downs allowed and third down defense. U-M also ranked second nationally in three other categories.
A native of East Orange, New Jersey, Peppers was the third-leading tackler for the Wolverines, racking up a career-best 72 stops. He led U-M in tackles for loss (16), averaging 1.3 per game, and helped U-M become the only defense in the nation to average more than three sacks (3.5) and nine tackles for loss (9.3) per game. Peppers also contributed four sacks, one interception and one forced fumble.
In the return game, he had 21 punt returns for 310 total yards, averaging 14.8 yards per return with one touchdown, and he had 10 kickoff return opportunities, totaling 260 yards for a 26.0-yard average. Peppers carried the ball 27 times on offense for 167 total yards (6.18 yards per carry) with three touchdowns and also registered two receptions.
Through his 15 different positions played this season (five on offense, six on defense, four on special teams), Peppers played an astounding 933 snaps, logging 726 plays on defense, 53 plays on offense and 154 snaps on special teams.