Why 5-star LB Owen Pappoe chose Auburn over Georgia
Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. The play sheet today calls for a good look at the decision made by 5-star linebacker Owen Pappoe. He chose Auburn on Tuesday night.
The choice for Owen Pappoe was Auburn. It had been Auburn for quite some time.
Pappoe said several things that backed that up after his live announcement from Sports and Social at the Battery at SunTrust Park on Tuesday night.
He said he believed that Auburn coach Gus Malzahn didn’t know, but Auburn assistant coach Travis Williams had known for quite some time.
Pappoe already plans to start recruiting for Auburn. His No. 1 target is going to be Grayson teammate Wanya Morris. Morris just committed to Tennessee on Tuesday night with his Grayson teammates, too.
- He wore a custom Auburn short-sleeve hoodie with his last name on the back. Morris said he believed that the 5-star prospect had that made when those two made their long three-day recruiting trip to Auburn within the last few months. It also had the number 00 embroidered.
- Georgia led for Pappoe basically all of his sophomore year at Grayson High. He told DawgNation that Auburn caught and eventually surpassed the Bulldogs near the tail end of last season.
- Pappoe took two crucial visits to Auburn which crystallized his interest in the program late last season. He approximated that was the time when the Tigers knocked off No. 1 Georgia and then No. 1 Alabama in a span of 14 days.
What did Pappoe have to say about his big decision? Read on.
What really mattered to 5-star Owen Pappoe
Pappoe, a classy and humble guy by nature, said all the right things regarding the Bulldogs.
He was thinking Georgia. Until those two wins by the Tigers.
“It was exactly around there,” Pappoe said. “I started thinking to myself that I was going to take a whole bunch more visits to Auburn. Make sure. Maybe I was really interested in that team. It turned out that I was and that’s when I pulled the trigger.”
What was the biggest factor regarding this decision for Auburn?
“It was just somewhere that I know my family would be happy that I was there,” Pappoe said. “I’m going to be happy myself, too and I’m really comfortable with the coaches over there. I’m cool with a lot of the players.”
Why did the Tigers beat out the Bulldogs?
“It was a gut feeling,” Pappoe said.
He was aware of the depth chart at UGA. The Bulldogs have a lot of prized inside linebacker recruits on the way and in already in the program.
“Don’t get me wrong,” Pappoe said. “Everywhere you go you know you are going to have to compete. I know Georgia brought in a lot of good linebackers. But [this] doesn’t have to do with any of them being over there. I just look at Auburn and see that they would have a whole bunch of seniors leaving. My opportunity there would be better than it would be at Georgia. But my recruiting is not over yet. My signing day is not until December so that’s just what I am feeling right now.”
Was there anything the Bulldogs could have done?
“They were fine,” Pappoe said. “Georgia didn’t do anything wrong.”
He felt comfortable at Auburn. Pappoe also didn’t really see himself playing very early at Georgia compared to that opportunity with the Tigers.
“Owen Pappoe on the recruiting trail starts today,” he said. “Everyone needs to know that. You are going to see. I’ve got some people in mind.”
What’s next for the Bulldogs?
The plan all along was for the Bulldogs to sign three inside linebackers in the 2019 class. That, of course, included Pappoe.
Expect the Bulldogs to continue the push for Pappoe. They have to. He’s just that good and that rare of a talent.
But look for UGA to prioritize the following names on the recruiting trail at inside linebacker going forward:
- 5-star ILB Nakobe Dean — Other schools seem much more in the mix for the nation’s No. 1 ILB prospect per the 247Sports composite. Will he wind up at either Alabama or LSU? That’s possible. But the Bulldogs should make a bigger push here while Pappoe seems so passionate about playing for the Tigers.
- 5-star ILB Brandon Smith — Smith has taken multiple official visits to UGA. Is he an outside or inside linebacker? He plays middle linebacker in high school. Smith rates as the nation’s No. 2 ILB for 2019 on the 247Sports composite rankings.
- 4-star ILB Christian Harris — He already visited UGA for G-Day. Harris told DawgNation that he plans to return for an official visit. Harris rates as the nation’s No. 13 athlete and the No. 141 overall prospect for 2019.
- 3-star LB Jamie Pettway — This would be a bit of a wild card, but Pettway has always dreamed of playing for the Bulldogs. He plays for Westover High in Albany and was also at G-Day. Pettway is plenty physical and rates as the nation’s No. 48 OLB for 2019. He holds several SEC offers but has yet to pick one up from Georgia.
Dean and Smith are two of Georgia’s three offers at inside linebacker for 2019. The only other offer that has been extended would be to Louisiana 4-star prospect Donte Starks. He rates as the nation’s No. 5 ILB and No. 123 overall prospect for 2019.
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