Now, Appleby is building a relationship with the NU coaches—the next step in potentially getting a scholarship.
"(Coach Cushing) said I'm top-eight on the board, and they're going to start building a relationship with me," Appleby said. "Because it's so new, they want to build a relationship, and I'll go up the board as that relationship builds."
This wasn't Appleby's first meeting with Coach Cushing. The two met when Appleby made the trip to Evanston to see Northwestern's upset victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes. During that game, the quarterback was very admiring of Northwestern's style.
"They don't necessarily get the best guys, but they're intelligent, hard-working, and believe in Coach Fitzgerald's plan," said Appleby. "They buy in and believe in themselves. When they upset Iowa, they played hard. They played with heart."
For Appleby, Northwestern stands out for a variety of reasons. One of those is the Wildcats' style, which is similar to what he's accustomed to at Hoover High School. The thing that stands out the most is Northwestern's high academic prestige—something which the 3.993 student appreciates.
"Coach Fitzgerald said that it's cool to be smart at Northwestern, and that's something that stood out to me," said Appleby, who plans to be business marketing major in college. "Academics are very important to me."
But playing football is also important for the quarterback—but who's looking for the perfect balance of football and school.
"What I'm looking for is a balance of classroom to the gridiron," said Appleby. "I'm not going to be one of those kids who jumps at an offer if it's big time. I want academics and looking for a great situation in the classroom."
It's an even playing field for Appleby who does not have a favorite, but Northwestern could move up that list as their relationship grows stronger.
"I really enjoy everything that Northwestern has to offer," Appleby said. "It's definitely a place I can see myself potentially."
Appleby is a three-sport star at Hoover, playing in basketball and baseball to go along with football. In his junior football season, Appleby threw for 1,427 yards and 14 touchdowns in a season cut short due to injury. He was named second-team all-district.