Many prospects hope to get to see the Alabama Crimson Tide once or twice as a prep talent but some get the jump because of their status. High school freshman Owen Pappoe is in that boat as one of the top prospects the 2019 class already, with more than two dozen scholarship offers to his name to boot.
Pappoe picked up the UA offer before beginning his high school career at Loganville (Ga.) Grayson during his first visit to Tuscaloosa. On Saturday, he and his father took in A-Day during the young standout's third time on campus.
"It was great, I got to talk to a couple of recruits there and also got to spend time with my position coach, coach (Tosh) Lupoi and on-campus coach (Sam) Pettito," he said. "It was a great experience overall. It's just really cool. As soon as I got there and got signed in he (Lupoi) called me into his office and we watched film for about an hour.
"We were watching their spring practices, mostly of Ryan Anderson most of the time. Just showing me the techniques he was using as a pass rusher."
Projecting as an outside linebacker at this time, Pappoe kept his eyes on Anderson and another rising-senior at the linebacker position once A-Day began.
"I was watching Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster most of the time, they're really dominant linebackers," he said. "That Alabama defense is just crazy. It was about seeing what they do on the field and applying it to my game so I can become a better football player."
Though extremely early in the recruiting process, the Crimson Tide has made an impression since pulling the trigger with an offer.
"Even knowing they were interested in me was an honor and when they offered it was very special," Pappoe said. "I'm really considering them a lot, they will be one of my top schools. It's Alabama, they're one of the best programs in the country and they're known for their linebackers on defense most of the time.
"I want to go to a place like that."
Pappoe's father feels similarly about the program.
"Same thing, he really likes the fact that they make sure you're on your grades, too," he said of his father. "Other than that, he just really loves the place."
Florida State, Tennessee, Miami (Fl) and the Georgia Bulldogs are other programs Pappoe has visited, resulting in a good impression. LSU could be the next big-time program he visits and adds an offer from.
Either way, some two years stand in between the present and a likely decision timeframe.
"I'm going to talk to my parents, so I'm going to try and shut it down my junior season, maybe about this time," he said. "Whatever school I'm comfortable with, if I were to get hurt, that has a good training staff, one that makes me better as a player to get me to the next level. Also, a school that's good education-wise."
Topping The Opening Atlanta with a blistering 128.22 Nike+ Football Rating and the linebacker MVP award, Pappoe hopes it will help him become the first-ever freshman invited to The Opening Finals in Oregon in July.