Owen Pappoe knows the route from Loganville, Georgia, to Knoxville, Tennessee, quite well.
Tennessee didn’t waste any time making the linebacker a priority in the 2019 class, convincing Pappoe to unofficially visit often.
“Since they’ve started recruiting me, I’ve been there about like, I’d say 12-13 times,” Pappoe told InsideTennessee after his Saturday trip in which he saw the Big Orange scrimmage inside Neyland Stadium.
“This was the first time I got to see them practice in full pads for a full practice. I came in the spring when they were practicing, but it was toward the end of practice. So this was a full practice I got to see.
“I talked to (Tennessee linebacker Jalen) Reeves-Maybin a little bit just to say, ‘What’s up?’ He was just checking in on me. Same thing with (linebacker) Darrin (Kirkland). But watching them both play, they’re just both really explosive at their position. I personally think Jalen and Darrin are going to be one of the best linebacker duos in the NCAA. So they’re looking really good out there.”
Butch Jones made it a point to speak with the Scout four-star prospect from the 2019 class.
“Toward the end of the visit he came in there just to say, ‘What’s up?’” Pappoe said. “He checked in to see how everything was going, asked me a couple questions about how the season was going.”
Pappoe was accompanied on the visit by roughly 40 other players about his age with 17 being teammates at Grayson (Ga.) High School.
The relationship building between Tennessee and Pappoe continue to keep the Volunteers as one of the schools getting heavy consideration for the 6-foot, 197-pounder with 4.57-second speed in the 40-yard dash.
“They’re definitely one of my top schools,” said Pappoe, who listed Alabama, Georgia and Florida State as other favorite schools.
“Just every time I go up there, they just treat me like family and always make sure I have a good time. I have a really good relationship with (Tennessee linebackers) coach (Tommy) Thigpen. He talks to me all the time, mentoring me, trying to get me better as a football player mentally. We watch a lot of film. I’m getting to see how smart you have to be to play on that level, especially in the SEC. That’s one reason I like them.”
Expect to see the sophomore back on Rocky Top on Sept. 24.
“The only game I have seen so far is the Tennessee-Florida game, so I know I’m going to be at that one for sure,” Pappoe said. “Other than that, I haven’t planned anything else.
“It’s going to be a great game. It’s just a rivalry. They haven’t beaten them in a long time, so I think they’ve got a shot at it this year. I want to be able to be there to see it.”