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In his first career start against Appalachian Statehe recorded two tackles and returned one punt for six yards. However, he sustained an injury in the game and was redshirted for the remainder of his freshman season. In 12 games, Peppers played a combined snaps this season, with 50 coming on offense, on defense, and on special teams.
On defense, he registered 45 total tackles, 5. On special teams, he returned all 17 punts on the season for yards, an average of Peppers has returned eight kickoffs for yards, an average of On offense, he added eight catches for 79 yards with 18 rushes for 72 yards and two touchdowns.
Peppers has gained all-purpose yards on the season, an average of He became the first conference player to be named both Defensive and Special Teams Player of the Week in the same week since the special teams honor was added in Peppers recorded a career-best nine tackles, including six solo stops and 3.
In addition, he recorded yards of total offense, including his first career punt return for a touchdown. There's no middle path," he says. Maybe it is where his belief in destiny comes into play because despite the "hero or zero" job, he believes his life is has been touched by the magic of the fates: Like most of his seniors in school, Sreejesh too believed he would go down a familiar route: He was not very good at Kerala's three pet sports, football, volleyball and basketball; the idea of trying to master a sport which most of his peers excelled in was disconcerting.
The hockey stick did not cost much but the goalkeeping gear - between INR to at the time - was beyond his family's means. Though my family had never heard of hockey before and were apprehensive of its future prospects, they supported my decision.
But what did not go unnoticed, even among his peers, was his drive to excel. No matter the quality of the goalkeeping gear, it is what has always made Sreejesh protected, looked after.
Without it I would be a little lost. It has been 16 years now since I've been wearing it. It's almost like my second skin. His focus and dedication left many surprised.
He turned his preference for a lungi over boxer shorts into a joke, wearing a lungi during the team's dancing celebrations. When his team-mates stole his lungi, Sreejesh would go over to Saju's room and ask his fellow Keralite for a spare.
Harendra, who calls him a 'great' dancer, recalls his own reaction when the Lungi Dance song from the film Chennai Express was released. Harendra says he promptly texted Sreejesh: Aajkal iss pe Shah Rukh nachta hai. These days, Shah Rukh grooves to it. To get Sreejesh's Hindi working, Harendra switched his room-mate from a player from the south to the player from the north - with instructions. That's often the fastest way to make someone learn a language," chuckles Harendra.
Sreejesh's struggles with Hindi, the Indian team's most widely spoken language, are more significant when realising that the requirements of a modern goalkeeper go beyond technical skill.
Communication with the defensive line and through it, a projection of the team's mood is fundamental.
Meet Sreejesh, the shah of the shootout
In this trait, former Pakistan captain Salman Akbar notices the big leap that Sreejesh's presence has helped his team take. What stands out in his game is his ability to read match situations, which very few 'keepers do well and the manner in which he defends penalty corners.
His aggression rubs off on the rest of the team. It can be a problem if a goalkeeper reacts first; he must always wait to see what the opponent is doing before reacting. This was a problem area for Sreejesh early on, but he has clearly worked very hard on that. Today he is the ultimate goalkeeper. When former goalkeeper and Olympian Charles Cornelius arrived to select the squad, he was impressed enough by Sreejesh's abilities and picked him as the second 'keeper in the side after D'Souza.
The look on his face, says Saju was one of "both shock and thrill. As fifth choice keeper, Harendra said Sreejesh "would stay back for extra hours after a three-hour practice session in the blazing sun. He never said no.
Jabrill Peppers - Wikipedia
Had that not happened, he says he would have followed his elder brother, and trained to become a male nurse. Destiny once again threw up the path for him to tend goal for India instead. Indian mainstay Baljit's right eye injury inwhich left his retina, cornea and lens damaged, opened a window of opportunity for Sreejesh. He was called in as a replacement goalkeeper for a Europe tour in July that year. ByD'Souza began to fall out of favour with the national hockey body for his participation in the rebel World Series Hockey following which he was slapped with a one-year ban for failing a dope test in Following India's disastrous last-place finish at the London Olympics four years ago with Chhetri at the helm, Sreejesh stepped up to become India's first-choice goalkeeper.
What is likely to work at the Rio Games, Sreejesh feels, is that India has been "carrying a team" in recent times. Over the past two years, the core group of players in the side has remained unchanged, which has helped in forging greater faith and understanding within, he goes on to add. He promises Rio will not be a repeat of London: Goalkeepers are like wine, they only get better with time. He unabashedly ranks his achievements higher than that of his predecessors.
When you look up our achievements in the sport many years from now, my name will be up there, in big, bold letters.