Upon receiving a scholarship offer from UNC in mid-August, Appel, a 6-foot-6, 300-pound offensive lineman from Arlington (Va.) O'Connell, verbally committed to the Tar Heels.
"It has been a relaxing time knowing where I was going," Appel said. "I made my decision pretty quickly, because I thought it couldn't get any better than UNC."
UNC has put together a solid offensive line recruiting class. Aside from Appel, the class includes All-American James Hurst (five stars), T.J. Leifheit (four stars), and Russell Bodine (three stars). With a two-star ranking, Appel is often the forgotten piece.
"I know I'm under the radar, but I've always put my best foot forward and worked hard," Appel said. "I can't make any promise as far as what I can do and what can't do. But I'm going to try my best and work hard in the weight room. I've been told by coaches as long as I keep doing that I'll be fine."
As a senior, Appel started at right tackle in O'Connell's double-wing, run-heavy offense. He played left tackle during his junior season.
Coming into his UNC career, Appel isn't exactly sure where he'll play.
"[Offensive line coach Sam Pittman] said to me he was going to try to get me on the field as quickly as possible – whatever position on the line that is, whether it's center, guard, tackle," Appel said. "It's probably going to be guard or tackle."
For the spring months, Appel said he is debating between focusing on the weight room and participating in the shot put for O'Connell.