Nearly all of Arlington (Va.) O'Connell's football games are played on Saturdays. Thus, Appel is fortunate to catch a UNC game on television, let alone travel to Chapel Hill for it.
The 2009 season started off promising for O'Connell, with a three-game winning streak. But things fell apart during conference play and the Knights ended with a 4-6 record.
"We started losing a lot of players [to injuries]," Appel said. "After that, I think the spirit of the team started to get down a little bit."
Appel started at right tackle for O'Connell, where he was named second team all-conference following the season.
"I felt that I got a little bit better every week," Appel said. "… [I improved] my speed off the ball. There are things I still need to work on, though, like footwork."
Defensively, Appel was expected to start at defensive tackle. However, he spent the season jumping around the defensive line.
"Once we started losing guys [to injuries], we had to make adjustments," Appel said.
Throughout the football season, Appel has been in weekly communication with the UNC staff. He speaks most often to Sam Pittman, UNC's offensive line coach, but has had several conversations with Charlie Williams and Butch Davis.
"[Pittman] just talks about how he can't wait to get me down there," Appel said. "Last time I talked to him, he told me all of he committed [offensive] linemen are going to be [at UNC] Saturday, so I'm looking forward to that."
Pittman has also discussed the game plan for Appel.
"We're both on the same page as far as me playing the first year," Appel said. "He and I agreed we're going to try to get me on the field as much as possible next year. It's probably going to be on the right side, but I'm not sure if it's guard or tackle."
Although nothing has been scheduled, Appel plans to take his UNC official visit sometime in December.