AUBURN, Ala. — Owen Pappoe‘s top three, as he puts it, is “gone.”
The 5-star linebacker from Grayson High in Loganville, Ga., put out a top list in 2017 that included Georgia, Clemson and Nebraska. He hinted after his Auburn junior day visit last month that it was a list likely to need some restructuring. Pappoe has taken some time to see a few other programs, including Tennessee on Saturday, and it has given him more clarity about his top schools of interest.
Georgia is No. 1. Auburn is No. 2. For right now, those are the two programs Pappoe is honing in on.
“That top three is gone. I’d say Georgia and Auburn are my top two. … Right now Georgia is my top school. I said Auburn and Georgia are my top two, but I would say Georgia is my number one right now. They really do have a good chance of landing me,” Pappoe said. “Clemson, I haven’t really been in contact with them. I wouldn’t say they’re out the picture, but we haven’t really been communicating that much.”
Even though Auburn sits behind Georgia, the Tigers’ move has been substantial.
Pappoe has been visiting the Plains regularly since his sophomore season, but until the last few months, Auburn has always been on the outside looking in for him. That included being absent in his top 3.
The move by the Tigers, however, isn’t too surprising given his relationship with Auburn linebackers coach Travis Williams.
“Shoot man, it’s just been hard recruiting. My relationship with coach T-Will is probably the best of any coach I’ve been recruited by since eighth grade. I could see myself coming in here and playing early, too. That’s a really big factor for me,” Pappoe said. “Him and my position coach in high school now, they’re the same people. They always keep it real with you, high-energy guys, run around with you in practice on the field. That’s the kind of coach I want to be coached by.”
If Auburn can make another move for Pappoe — from No. 2 to No. 1 — the clock is ticking.
Pappoe will take a few visits this spring to LSU, Texas (official visit set for April 27), Ohio State and Penn State. He expects to be back at Georgia and Auburn throughout the spring, as well. But Pappoe would like to have a final college decision by May and before his senior season at the latest.
“Just prove to me why they would be the better choice, however it is they do that,” Pappoe said of Auburn’s chances. “They have let me know I’m one of the top guys on the board, that I’m a top priority and they need me here. That has been their message for me.”