As we continue our march to kickoff, we take a look at the top 100 recruits to sign with Auburn of all-time*. The rankings are based on 247’s composite recruit rankings, which unfortunately only date back to 2000.
“Developed as a prospect at an early stage, both physically and technically. Drew college offers in middle school. Possesses a relatively streamline build with adequate muscle mass on a narrow frame. One of the better overall athletes nationally with some of the best combine testing numbers of the last several recruiting cycles. Twitchy athlete who translates the testing explosion onto the field. Uses his outstanding closing speed to disrupt opposing offenses both as a blitzer and striker in space. Strong at the point of attack with the ability to take on and shed blocks as a run defender. Shows sideline-to-sideline range and is outstanding in defending the flats. Will need to continue honing his downfield coverage skills as he primarily operates within the box and flats at the high school level. Has the type athleticism and technical ability to be an instant contributor for a Power 5 program and the profile that NFL franchises currently covet in off-ball linebackers.” - 247 Sports
Owen Pappoe broke the SPARQ score. At the end of his junior year, Pappoe competed in the Nike Atlanta Opening Regional, where recruits compete in several workouts and drills to give college coaches a 1:1 comparison of the best recruits in the area. Some of these workouts are scored and combined to generate an overall SPARQ score, which are then standardized based on the size of the recruit. Owen Pappoe scored a 147.12, the highest score ever given out.
Pappoe was an early bloomer. By the time he was in 8th grade, we was already receiving D1 football scholarship offers. Throughout his four-year long recruitment, experts thought he might be on the verge of committing to Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Florida State and Tennessee at different points.
For a kid that was being recruited by Will Muschamp at Auburn, Pappoe saw a ton of turnover at coaching staffs throughout the SEC. But in the end, it was Travis Williams who secured Pappoe’s commitment.
Let me clear things up...I am 100% committed to Auburn!!! War Eagle pic.twitter.com/2L1UcVVFFF— Owen Pappoe (@opfreak15) December 5, 2018
Right now, Owen Pappoe is the second highest rated linebacker to ever commit to Auburn behind Trey Blackmon, and he was the top ranked guy in Auburn’s 2019 class.
As an early enrollee, Owen Pappoe was able to go through spring camp and summer workouts with the Tigers. But if you ask anybody around the team, you wouldn’t know he’s a freshman.
Strength coach Ryen Russell told Travis Williams, “If he started at a young age — he could be an Olympic powerlifter.” Williams also relayed to the Montgomery AU Club, “They say he’s probably, upper body, top five on the team. He’s just one of these freakish guys — run fast, and he’s strong”. That’s pretty high praise for an 18 year old.
Throughout fall camp, Pappoe has been playing with the 1’s on defense alongside KJ Britt. Almost every player and coach has had something to say about him, but it has come down to a similar sentiment every time: he doesn’t even realize that what he’s doing is that special. Pappoe is a physical talent that can just do things that regular people can’t. Whether it’s his pure athleticism (he ran a 4.47 40!) or his instincts in the game, he makes special plays happen.
Auburn HC Gus Malzahn on what impresses him the most about LB Owen Pappoe: "Everything."— Justin Ferguson (@JFergusonAU) August 18, 2019
We’ll see what Pappoe does on the field this fall. Higher rated recruits than him have not panned out. But man it’s tough to see him not being special.