A year ago, Owen Pappoe was the first rising sophomore to get an invitation to Nike’s The Opening Final. Pappoe had not even made a varsity tackle, but he already had the nickname “The Freak” and collected a dozen scholarship offers.
While it might have been a surprise last year that he was at The Opening – simply because he was just 15 and that had never happened before – it was no surprise that he was invited back.
Pappoe, from Grayson (Loganville, Ga.) was one of six underclassmen among the 166 players invited.
“I already knew everything that was about to happen so I was more prepared (this year),” said Pappoe, who is ranked as the No. 1 outside linebacker, No. 1 player in Georgia and No. 6 overall in the Class of 2019, according to the 247Sports Composite.
Much like a year ago, Pappoe tried to learn all he could.
“You’re learning from the best up there so you just have to take their advice and apply it to your game,” he said.
For Pappoe, the key takeaways involved taking on blocks, playing more man defense in coverage, and learning different leverage points. Pappoe has great instincts and has strong coverage skills and those were on display among all the talent on the field.
As he heads into his junior season, Pappoe announced a top 10 of Florida, Tennessee, LSU, Georgia, Alabama and Auburn, Ohio State, Clemson, Florida State and Nebraska from among his 40 reported offers.