2022 Spring Football: One on One With Ryan Peppins
SALT LAKE CITY- With the importance of a strong aerial attack in the game of football more prominent than ever, teams are trying to find players who can break the game open on the perimeter. While many players posses this skill set, few are a three-time state champion, unless you are Utah freshman receiver Ryan Peppins.
The Birmingham, Ala., product recorded 2,516 and 41 touchdowns in his final two seasons as a member of Thompson High School. The 7A football star was named to the MaxPreps 2020 Junior All-American First Team and become the first player in Shelby County history to win Alabama Mr. Football.
Peppins also won MVP of the 2021 7A state championship game after going off for 203 yards and two touchdowns to help Thomas capture their third state title in three years. He was also a strong athlete in basketball and track and field.
UtahUtes.com talked with Peppins after the first padded practice for a Q&A.
Q: What aspects of your game set you apart from other receivers?
A: Getting involved with the playbook and with my teammates. Just trying to be a fast learner and I'd also say my speed and quickness.
Q: What was it like playing high school football in Alabama?
A: Playing 7A high school football in Alabama was just a different vibe. The fans and everything else about it is just how high school football is supposed to be. Facing off against the four and the five stars each week, there's nothing like it.
Q: What is it like coming in as a freshman on a team that just won the Pac-12?
A: At Alabama, I was one of the top dogs but coming out here it's a different breed because everyone's good. There's a lot of stuff I have to get back on the field and work on because all the guys here play with good technique and study their playbooks.
Q: What do your parents mean to you?
A: My parents mean a lot to me, and they always call to check in on me. It's different being away from home because after every practice me and my dad would always go on the field and get more work in ever since I was three years old. My mom always stayed on me about schoolwork and just being responsible. It's strange not having them here but with me being 17 I just have to be more mature on my own.
Q: Which of the three state championships you won meant the most to you?
A: The one my junior year but that doesn't happen without the game my sophomore year. So, my sophomore year I played the worst game of my life but that was the best thing that ever happened to me because it motivated me to get back to that stage. My junior year we won in a crazy game; we were down by a touchdown with 20 seconds left in the game. Then we blocked a punt, scored to tie it, and got the onside kick and kicked the game winning field goal.
Q: Which NFL Corner would you most like to face off against?
A: Jalen Ramsey, he's the top dog and I want to go against the best of the best.
Q: Who would you compare your basketball game too?
A: Kyrie Irving because I got nice handles.
Q: Favorite Musician?
A: NBA YoungBoy
Q: What's your favorite movie scene?
A: The scene in Coach Carter where he talks to the player about his biggest fear. When I watch that scene, I feel like I'm the player because I still haven't found my biggest fear yet and think I'll discover it deep inside of me someday.
Q: Which of the coaches would you want to have as a partner in a tag team wrestling match?
A: Coach Shah, cause he's a dog. I need him on my side because I know he's going to throw down.
Q: Beach or Mountains?
A: Beach, I'm from the south.
Q: What motivates you to be great?
A: My granddaddy, Wardle Clark and my cousin, Jamel Peppins died a few years back and that motivates. Just being small also motivates me every day. When I look in the mirror or just being compared to other guys, it all pushes me. Everybody being huge and me being small just drives me to say I know I can do it. I want to show little kids that it doesn't matter how small or old you are. All that matters is just going out there, grinding and showing everybody that you're different.