How does the nation’s No. 2 prospect Owen Pappoe feel about in-state Georgia?

Want a daily lap through Georgia football recruiting? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. We’ll cover the news and which way this 4-star or 5-star like Owen Pappoe may lean plus add some perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.


Owen Pappoe can play. The whole world saw that during his freshman season at Grayson.

Pappoe collected 50-plus tackles during the 2015 playoffs. The Rams didn’t win it all, but the ninth-grader might have been their best defender amid that run.

Grayson did claim the GHSA state title in the state’s largest class last season. Pappoe was a major factor in that title drive.

That verified his status as a major Power 5 prospect before his first varsity snaps. Former UGA defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt offered him in the summer between middle school and high school. He wasn’t the only SEC coach to do so.

That’s when the top-shelf talent lands their first big offers now. Dylan Moses was in the club. So was UGA freshman DeAngelo Gibbs, among many others.

Grayson rising junior Owen Pappoe picked up his first major college offers prior to entering high school. (Jeff Sentell /

Pappoe now rates as the nation’s No. 2 prospect for 2019 per 247Sports.

His recruiting timeline has also already had its eras. The freshmen era had him trending to Tennessee. A lot of the talk now steers Pappoe to Alabama.

Where do the home state Bulldogs fit in? That’s the recruiting question of the day here on DawgNation.

“This is really going to be a hard decision for me,” Pappoe said. “There’s a lot of schools which are offering great things. Alabama could be offering the same thing that Tennessee is offering. Florida could be offering the same thing Miami could be offering. It is going to be a hard decision. It is going to come down to me taking all my officials first before I make my decision.”

He does know two things: 1) He will make his decision after his senior season and those official visits: 2) Look for him to enroll early in January of 2019.

Owen Pappoe on Georgia

The 6-foot-1, 212-pounder was the first freshman named to Nike’s elite “The Opening” last July. He joined 166 of the nation’s finest regardless of grade level at that showcase event.

Pappoe, by a conservative measure, was easily among the upper third of players there even though he won’t play college ball for another three years. He had the ninth-best SPARQ rating score in 2016. That was the highest ranking of any other LB.

Owen Pappoe is rated as the nation’s No. 2 prospect in 2019 by 247Sports. (Jeff Sentell /

He had a great visit at UGA in January. It offered him the chance to speak at length with Kirby Smart, defensive coordinator Mel Tucker and outside linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer.

The message continues to be to come back. Soon. He went about seven months between visits before he visited with “True 19” in January.

Why does he seem to be connected more to other schools and not to the in-state school?

“I don’t know,” Pappoe said. “I know that I have personally not said anything. I’m just letting the media do what they want to do. But when a coach talks to me and wants to know what is up I will always tell them how I am feeling.”

He’s taking the long view in his decision that he’s still open to all schools. The 4-star recruit gets a lot of love from Georgia fans on Twitter, but that is to be expected.

“I’ve got my own schools that I like the most right now,” Pappoe said. “I just want to keep that to myself, though. Every school in the country still has a chance to me because it is still early for me.”

What roles will the True 19s play in his decision? 

It is still way early, but Georgia is expecting to line up a gullywasher of a class for 2019. Some of the top talent in the state is already quietly lining up to play in Athens.

Owen Pappoe is considered the state’s top player for 2019. He’s shown here prior to the end of his freshman year. He already had 26 of his 36 offers back then. (Michael Carvell / AJC)

Pappoe would not be one of those big-namers. But some of his peers like UGA commit Nolan Smith II are already working on him. One person with knowledge of the situation describes it as a True 19 wall that those guys are trying to build around Pappoe.

It goes without saying that any run at the nation’s No. 1 class in 2019 would definitely be boosted by having the nation’s No. 2 player per 247Sports in the fold.

“I didn’t even know about it but the word on the street was that I was about to commit to Alabama,” Pappoe said in January. “That’s what they told me they heard. So they are trying to sway me from them to go to Georgia. But I haven’t said anything about Bama. I don’t know where that came from. It is hilarious.”

The message from those peers is constant.

“They are telling me that Georgia is just 30 minutes away from your house,” he said. “Stay home. We are building something new and savages play with savages and all that. All that type of stuff.”

Owen Pappoe was a dominant defender for Grayson High in 2016. (Jeff Sentell /

Pappoe said he hears that from about 15-to-2o of the top in-state prospects in the Class of 2019. Modern recruiting is that a player has to choose his fit.

Peers should not make or break that. But at the same time, Pappoe can’t help but notice the in-state talent and conclude this: If all of those guys go to the same place, they will win. They will most definitely win.

True 19 organizer Kenyatta Watson predicted the Class of 2019 will win a national title at Georgia. 

“I definitely want to go to school with some of those guys,” Pappoe said. “I already told Coach (Kirby) Smart I could definitely see myself playing at Georgia. But at the end of it all, it is just going to come down to what is the best fit for me and my family. That’s what it is going to come down to it.”

He isn’t sure about a major, but he is leaning toward an emphasis in computer science.

What position does he play? 

Look at his body type. Judge how he plays. He’s probably going to be a safety in college. That’s even though he is currently ranked as the nation’s No. 1 OLB for 2019.

Owen Pappoe told DawgNation that he plans to enroll early in 2019 and that he will most likely make his decision after his senior season. (Jeff Sentell /

Pappoe even thinks so.  The crystal ball for what position he will line up at 2020 is easier than deciphering his top school. But that’s not a lay-up either.

“It could change with the body type I am at, but I thinking like a nickel,” he said. “Maybe a nickel safety.”

That’s a do-everything safety. He can play in or out of the box and shadow tight ends, slot receivers and blanket the running backs on those wheel routes.

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