AUBURN, Ala. — Of the top prospects on campus Saturday, few were bigger than 5-star linebacker Owen Pappoe.
The No. 7 overall prospect in the nation entered the Auburn junior day with a top 3 — Georgia, Clemson and Nebraska. Pappoe had been to Auburn before for game days, but he’d never spent a full day on the Plains. For his first full experience on campus, Pappoe received a lot of 1-on-1 time with linebacker coach Travis Williams and Tigers linebacker Deshaun Davis.
After the visit, Pappoe decided to make a slight alteration to his top schools
“Auburn is most definitely in it now. After this visit, my head’s just spinning. Just getting to talk to the players, getting to talk to coach T-Will more in-depth out of any time I’ve visited Auburn,” Pappoe said. ” If I had to say three schools right now, I’d say Auburn, Georgia and Clemson.”
His top group isn’t the only difference.
Pappoe had been nearing a decision. He admitted after the Auburn junior day he’ll likely have to adjust when he makes his college choice. Pappoe still expects to choose before his senior season, but it won’t be immediately as he once thought. As he puts it, the decision isn’t “way down the road,” but he needed to “take a step back.”
That will benefit the Tigers.
Williams is a big reason for the adjusted timeline.
“It was the longest time I’ve been here. I spent a lot of time one-on-one with Coach T-Will. Even at a junior day with a bunch of people here, he still made enough time for me. That made a big impact,” Pappoe said.
The Tigers have only taken two pure linebackers in the 2018 class. That means Auburn expects a big haul in 2019. With current players such as Darrell Williams and Deshaun Davis on the way out after next season, Auburn will work to have one of its biggest classes yet at linebacker.
Pappoe acknowledged the depth-chart availability.
“By the time I’m signing they’re going to have five linebackers,” Pappoe said. “That’s big because I’m going to have the opportunity to come in, if I work hard and do whatever, I’m going to have the opportunity to play.”