2001 • Junior Season
General: One of the top defensive linemen in the country • Was mentioned as a Heisman Trophy candidate by USA Today, Sports Illustrated and ESPN after his performance in the Clemson game • Had an outstanding season despite constant double and triple teams • Every week, he was the focus of opposing teams’ defenses • Had 63 tackles, including 19 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks • Intercepted more passes (3) than any other defensive lineman in the country • Finished his Carolina career second on the school’s all-time lists for tackles for loss (53) and sacks (30.5) • Only William Fuller with 57 has more tackles for loss and only Greg Ellis with 32.5 has more sacks • Both Fuller and Ellis played four years, while Peppers has played only three • Decided to forgo his senior season to enter the 2002 NFL Draft.
Vs. Auburn (Peach Bowl, 12/31): Dominated the line of scrimmage in the first half of Carolina’s 16-10 victory in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Peppers had six tackles, including five in the first half and a two-yard tackle for loss. Peppers and the rest of the Tar Heel defense shut out Auburn through three quarters. ESPN’s Mel Kiper rated Peppers’ bowl effort one of the top 10 performances of the 2001 bowl season.
Vs. SMU (12/1): Peppers had a solid game with five tackles, including a seven-yard sack, another tackle of quarterback David Page for no gain and a pass batted down at the line of scrimmage. He was part of a Tar Heel defense that limited the Mustangs to just 96 yards rushing.
Vs. Duke (11/17): Head Coach John Bunting said Peppers had one of his best games against the run vs. the Blue Devils as the Tar Heels allowed just 83 yards rushing. Peppers had six tackles, including four solo and two assists. He had one tackle for loss and two others for no gain. He also broke up a pass at the line of scrimmage.
Vs. Wake Forest (11/10): Peppers had five tackles, including four solo stops and one assist. At Georgia Tech (11/1): Peppers had four tackles and caused one fumble in the Tar Heels’ 28-21 loss in Atlanta. His sack of George Godsey was wiped out because of a personal foul penalty on the other side of the field.
At Clemson (10/20): Peppers made one of the most spectacular plays of the season when he picked off Woody Dantzler’s pass in the second quarter of Carolina’s 38-3 victory at Clemson. Peppers also added five tackles and one sack and was named the ACC’s Defensive Line Player of the Week for the second time this season. The interception was Peppers’s team-leading third of the season and is the most by a defensive lineman this season. On the play, Peppers took on two blockers and jumped up to bat the Dantzler’s pass straight up into the air. Then while falling to the ground, Peppers lunged for the ball and made the interception. Peppers was part of a Carolina defense that limited Clemson to a season-low 209 yards of offense and held Dantzler to just 116 total yards. In the previous two weeks, Dantzler had accumulated 935 total yards.
Vs. Virginia (10/13): Peppers had five tackles (all solo), including three tackles for loss and two sacks in the Tar Heels’ 30-24 victory vs. Virginia. Peppers sacked Matt Schaub for a three-yard loss in the first quarter and then added a six-yard sack late in the fourth quarter. Peppers also chased down running Tyree Foreman for a 1-yard loss on a pass play.
Vs. ECU (10/6): Peppers had four tackles (three solo, one assist) and one sack in the Tar Heels’ 24-21 win over East Carolina. With Carolina holding a tenuous 21-13 lead in the fourth quarter, Peppers sacked ECU’s David Garrard for a 9-yard loss on third down, forcing an ECU punt from its end zone. Carolina got good field position on the ensuing drive and tacked on a field goal that proved to be the winning margin.
At NC State (9/29): Peppers had three tackles, including two tackles for loss and a 1/2 sack in Carolina’s 17-9 victory over NC State. He teamed with DE Joey Evans to sack Philip Rivers and cause a fumble in the fourth quarter. Peppers helped Carolina’s defense hold NC State to a season-low 52 yards rushing.
Vs. Florida State (9/22): Peppers was all over the field in Carolina’s 41-9 win over then-No. 6 Florida State. Peppers tied his career high with 10 tackles, including four tackles for loss and one sack. He also had an interception – his second of the season – for 13 yards. Peppers sack moved him past Marcus Jones and into second place on the UNC career sack chart.
At Texas (9/8): The focus of Texas’ offensive game plan, Peppers was constantly double teamed had just two tackles (one solo, one assist) and one pass deflection. “We had two people on him at all times. We were turning back on him ... we were sprinting out on him ... we even had a thing we call ‘chip,’ which means we had a fullback back there to hit him if he broke loose. When you’re that concerned about one person, you do this.”
At Maryland (9/1): Peppers had five tackles including four tackles for loss and three sacks in Carolina's 23-7 loss to the Terps. It was the fourth time in his career that he has had at least three sacks in a game. He had four as a freshman against Wake Forest in 1999, four at Virginia last season and three at Pittsburgh in 2000. Peppers is now tied for second on the UNC career sack chart with Marcus Jones (1992-95) with 24. He needs nine to pass Greg Ellis (32.5).
At Oklahoma (8/25): Peppers picked off a Nate Hybl pass with 1:48 to play in the first quarter and dashed 29 yards for Carolina’s first touchdown. It was the third defensive score of his career. He also had a fumble return for a TD at Wake Forest and a 27-yard INT return for a TD at Duke last season. He finished the Oklahoma game with five tackles, including two tackles for loss.
2000 • Sophomore Season
Named first-team All-America by CNNSI.com and CollegeFootballNews.com and second-team All-America by the Walter Camp Football Foundation, The Associated Press and Football News • Earned first-team All-ACC honors • Led the nation with 15 total sacks and was second in sacks per game (1.36) • Finished one sack shy of Lawrence Taylor’s school record of 16 established in 1980 • Established the school record and was third in the country with 24 tackles for loss (2.18 per game), breaking the previous record of 23 set by Ebenezer Ekuban in 1998 • Of his 15 sacks, 13 came on the road • Had two sacks at Wake Forest, two at Florida State, four at Virginia, three at Pittsburgh and two at Duke • Scored two touchdowns, including a 12-yard fumble return vs. the Demon Deacons and a 27-yard interception return at Duke • Finished the year with 64 tackles, including 44 solo stops and 20 assists • Also had 24 quarterback hurries, two pass deflections and three forced fumbles • Had a tremendous five-game stretch (NC State to Maryland) during which he tallied 43 tackles, including 16 tackles for loss and eight sacks • Combined for seven sacks in back-to-back weeks at Virginia and at Pittsburgh • Matched his career high with 10 tackles vs. Clemson and 10 tackles vs. Maryland • Had eight solo tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks at Florida State • In Carolina’s 59-21 win at Duke, he made a spectacular over the-head interception and raced 27 yards before leaping across the goal line for a TD • Played 624 snaps and started every game at defensive end.
1999 • Freshman Season
Named Freshman All-America by The Sporting News • Led UNC in tackles for losses and sacks • Named Co-Most Outstanding Freshman with wide receiver Sam Aiken • Started all 11 games at defensive end • Had 50 tackles, including 38 solo • Had 10 tackles for losses of 47 yards, including six sacks for 36 yards, caused one fumble, recovered a fumble, broke up two passes and intercepted one • Played 547 snaps • Had a season-high 10 tackles against Wake that included four quarterback sacks for 26 yards • Had nine solo tackles against the Deacons • Also blocked a field goal attempt in that game • Had tackles for losses against Virginia, FSU (two for 10 yards), Georgia Tech, Houston, Furman and Wake Forest • Caused a fumble against Furman and recovered one in the Duke game that led to a Carolina field goal • Intercepted a pass at Clemson to stop a Tiger drive at the UNC 11-yard line • Was red-shirted in 1998.
Joined the basketball team after the conclusion of the football season and the completion of fall semester exams • Made his season debut at UCLA on Dec. 23 after just three days of practice and had six points and four rebounds in the win • Made his first career start on Feb. 10 vs. Maryland and responded with a career-high 18 points • Dunk against Wake Forest (1/6) was CNN/SI’s Play of the Day • Matched his then career scoring high with 14 points in the Feb. 3 win over Georgia Tech (also had 14 at home against the Yellow Jackets as a freshman) • Had six points, five rebounds and an impressive lefthanded dunk in the win at Wake Forest on Feb. 6 • Started both NCAA Tournament games, responding with 12 points against Princeton and a career-high 21 points and 10 rebounds against Penn State (his first career double-double)
Became a key component in Carolina’s improbable run to the Final Four • Averaged 4.5 points and 3.5 rebounds and blocked 17 shots in 31 games • Made 56 of 98 field goal attempts (57.1 percent) • Was 11 for 16 from the free throw line in the NCAA Tournament • Was repeatedly called a “godsend” by then head coach Bill Guthridge for his contributions • Began practicing with the basketball team on Nov. 29th, two days before the Michigan State game • Averaged 5.8 points and 4.6 rebounds in the five NCAA Tournament games • Scored six points and blocked three shots in upset win over No. 1 seed Stanford in the second round.
southern nash high school Named a Parade All-America as an all-purpose talent • North Carolina High School Athletic Association Male Athlete of the Year • Earned all-state honors as a junior at defensive end • Played tailback and defensive end • Rushed for 3,501 yards and 46 touchdowns in his career • Had six sacks as a senior • Played for Coach Ray Davis • Earned all-state honors as a senior and was a four-time all-conference hoopster • His AAU team won the national championship • Was AAU teammates with future UNC teammates Brendan Haywood and Kris Lang • Competed four years in the triple jump and relays.
Born Julius Frazier Peppers on Jan. 18, 1980 in Wilson, N.C. • Majored in Afro-American studies.
Julius Peppers’ Regular-Season Statistics Year Pri A Hits CF RF TFL QB 1999 38 12 50 1 1 10-47 6-36 2000 44 20 64 3 1 24-146 15-117 2001 46 17 63 1 0 19-74 9.5-56 Totals 128 49 167 5 2 53-267 30.5-209
|High School:||Southern Nash|