MATTHEWS, N.C. — In a matter of days, Owen Pappoe says he will trim his list of top schools down to 10.
The Grayson (Ga.) High School linebacker from the Class of 2019 said Sunday at The Opening Charlotte that the Tennessee Volunteers will be included.
“They’re still one of my top schools,” Pappoe told InsideTennessee. “A lot of people think that like I’ve forgot about them because I haven’t been up there to visit for a minute. But they’re still one of my top schools.”
The Loganville, Georgia, native and his kin didn’t need to make numerous trips to Knoxville this spring as they’ve burned up Interstate-75 several times already. Pappoe: “Plus, it’s kind of far, too, so my parents, they don’t really want to make that drive all the time. But I’m going to get up there soon. I’m not sure when though.”
Pappoe said the distance to Knoxville is “not gonna hurt” the Vols’ chances of signing the Scout four-star prospect.
A trump card that Tennessee has in its deck is linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen, who is entering his fifth season with the Big Orange.
“All of all the coaches that have been recruiting me, he’s my favorite,” Pappoe said of Thigpen.
“He’s a real funny dude. Every time I go over there, we always chop it up, watch film. He’s just real cool. He reminds me of my position coach at my high school.”
The 6-foot, 209-pounder plays a variety of linebacker roles for Grayson. Thigpen told Pappoe that he could fit in at Tennessee at the MIKE, SAM or WILL spots.
Tennessee has more than enough competition to land Pappoe as he has offers from every blue blood in the Southeastern Conference as well as numerous elite programs across the country. Look for him to see more gameday environments in the fall.
“I know I’m going to the LSU-Florida game. That’s the one I know right now,” Pappoe said.
Pappoe said his recruitment doesn’t hamper his concentration on the prep level, and he’s educating himself with visits now so that he can have future decisions made prior to his senior season. The Rams defeated Roswell 23-20 in the 2016 GHSA Class AAAAAAA state championship.
“We’re going to be pretty good this season. We’re looking to make another run for the state title. That’s our main goal,” he said.
In 2016, the playmaking ‘backer was one of the youngest players to ever qualify for The Opening Finals. He made the drive to Charlotte on Sunday, “coming out to compete to make sure I earn my spot again this year.”