Former Spartan set to make NFL preseason debut
Former Spartan LS Taybor Pepper officially signed with the Baltimore Ravens on Monday morning with a one-year contract. The new Raven played for Michigan State from 2012-2015 and tried out with the Green Bay Packers this spring before being let go.
With a one-year contract, Pepper looks to show off his skills to be able to stay on the team or even have other teams pick him up at the end of the season.
“It felt really great to sign with the team,” Pepper said. “These long snappers are some of the best in the league.”
Tonight, Pepper will star in his first game in the NFL in preseason action against the New Orleans Saints. This will be his first game playing since the Cotton Bowl in 2015 against Alabama.
“I’m surprised I’m getting into the swing of things pretty easily after not playing for so long,” Pepper said. “I just have to keep myself busy and keep focus before the game, but I feel confident. It’s too late to feel nervous.”
For many special teams players, smaller positions do not come around so easily. This makes it extremely difficult for rookies to see some playing action with some veteran players being on the team for over five seasons and often do not get injured.
“This game is really important game to me because it is putting me out there and gaining experience to hopefully play more games in the future” Pepper said.
Pepper was a three-year letterman during his time as a Spartan where he played in every single game tied for the most played with players like Mike Sadler, Darien Harris, and Taiwan Jones. He has also won in every single Big Ten stadium during his college career. During his junior year, he started as the long snapper and a member of the special team that broke the school’s record of 72 extra points.
For most rookies going into the NFL, many players have played in crowds from 5,000 people to as big as 20,000. For Peppers, he has played for crowds in sold out Spartan Stadium, which holds over 75,000 people, and played in stadiums such as the Big House in Ann Arbor, Lucas Oil Stadium, and AT&T Stadium.
“Playing at such a high level and big crowds has really helped me especially playing for a great coach like Coach Dantonio, ” Pepper said. “Guys that usually come out of the MSU program have a seal of approval with a coach like him. My coaches there have really prepared me.”
Currently, Pepper will play just in the preseason game. For the rest of the season is unsure, but gaining this experience in tonight’s game will show him off what he can do for his team can to help earn him a spot on the 53 man roster.
“My main goal for this season is to end up on the 2nd string special team,” Pepper said. “Having this one game will do wonders for me.”
Even after leaving Michigan State, proud Spartan fans still recognized him after not playing for a whole season. He loves the continuous support he has received as well as the fans still cheering the Spartans on.
“Thank you to the MSU fans for their great support for their team and continuing to cheer us on,” Pepper said.