Last fall, O'Connell finished fourth in the conference, which includes Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha and Olney (Md.) Good Counsel, with a 3-4 record. O'Connell won its three non-conference games to post a 6-4 overall record.
Appel, a 6-foot-6, 300-pounder, stars at right tackle in O'Connell's double-wing, run-heavy offense.
"We do a lot of pulling with the tackles," Trimble said. "They've got to move, they've got to be athletes.
"Nick has really good feet for his size. His basketball days really got him to the point where he knows how to use his feet. And then getting in the weight room has gotten him strong for football."
This year, Appel will also start at defensive tackle.
"Last year, he didn't play both ways all the time, because we had more depth at lineman," Trimble said. "This year we're in need of depth, so he's going to play both ways for us.
"He's going to anchor the inside of our line, stop the running game, and get some middle push on the quarterback."
Appel is excited about the opportunity to start on defense.
"Going both ways, I've got to be in a lot better shape," Appel said. "It's a lot of fun being on the field and playing some defense."
A couple of weeks back, Appel verbally committed to UNC.
"They're getting a kid that has great size as everybody sees when they see him, but he also has a great work ethic," Trimble said. "And I think his best football is still ahead of him."
A basketball guy most of his life, Appel began playing football his freshman year. However, his focus remained – even during the football season – on basketball until his sophomore season.
"He got into the sport and he liked it. Immediately we saw his size and we were excited about getting his potential out there on the football field."
There's been some debate regarding whether Appel is better suited for guard or tackle on the collegiate level.
"I think he's definitely an offensive lineman, but whether he's a guard or a tackle," Trimble said. "He has good feet, he has strength – I could see tackle. But then also I could see interestingly enough sticking down to guard and using that size and that mobility to do some things."
Sam Pittman, UNC's offensive line coach, has informed Appel that he projects him at right guard.
Appel says he calls Pittman weekly and he regularly receives letters from the UNC staff.
"He's just talking to me about coming down and being a good asset to the team and help them move forward and win a championship."