Owen Pappoe: A Freshman All American

Written by Owen Pappoe and Evan Miller 
Published Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year everyone, this is Owen Pappoe back with my second RecruitDiary. Not a lot has happened since the last time I wrote, but I want to take some time to reflect on my past year of football and talk a little about the future. My season ended in a loss to Roswell in the state semifinals, so right now I’m just working out and getting ready to grind this offseason. This was only my third year of playing football, so I still need to work on a lot of stuff to be to where I want to be.

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Going into the season, I didn’t know what to expect, Grayson is not only one of the top football programs in Georgia, but also the nation. I wanted to start, you always have to believe you are the best, but I didn’t know if it would happen because no freshman has ever started on a Grayson defense, not even Robert Nkemdiche. Knowing that, I still hoped to start and contribute right away to the team. As I said before, it was only my third year of playing football so I had had a lot to learn. This season, I learned that I have to play fast and not think so much. I needed to react and not think, I have to trust my instincts. The players were bigger and faster than me, so I had to make sure I used good technique when I played. The season flew by, it seemed like it just started, but before I knew it we were in the playoffs playing Roswell for a chance to go to the state championship game at the Georgia Dome. We ended up losing that game, and it hurt because we worked so hard and to lose on the last play of the game made it even worse. Even though we lost, we had lots to take away from the game and the season. For starters I learned that I always have to finish no matter what I am doing in life. Whether it is football or school, finishing is key, but finishing strong is even more crucial. Another lesson I took away from the season is that we can play with any team in the state, and that will continue as I progress through school too. The season would not have been the same without the seniors welcoming me in and helping me along the way. All were an integral part to my success and most importantly the team’s success. On a scale of one to ten I would rate the season I had as a four. I dropped eight interceptions, and missed at least twenty tackles in fourteen games. I had a few mental errors too. I still have a long way to go.

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Recently MaxPreps named me to their Freshman All-American team. I was selected to the first team and I could not be more grateful. I finished the season with 104 tackles, eleven tackles for loss, nine pass break ups, two forced fumbles, one blocked field goal and one interception returned for a touchdown. I know that I could have had a better season, but it is still an honor to be thought of as one of the best in the nation for my class. A lot of people will get wrapped up in something like this, but I’m not really big on personal awards. I just want to win. When I first learned that I was selected as an All-American, I was excited and happy but it only made me want to work harder to come back even better next year.

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The offseason is here and I am ready to get to work. I am not going to waste any day because I want to make the most of this time. I want to gain about fifteen pounds of muscle and get faster. I also want to work on my hands; there is no excuse for the eight interceptions I dropped, which most certainly will not happen again. I am also going to play 7 on 7 for a team called Fundamentally Sound Sports, a nationally ranked team. As most of you know the Under Armour All American game was played on January 2. I was personally invited by LaVar Arrington to come down to Orlando to experience the week and get to see what it is like. Being invited was very humbling. I wanted to go down but my family and I couldn’t make it due to prior commitments. LaVar has been a mentor to me, and someone I can go to for advice. During the offseason, I have a ton of visits lined up. I want to visit sixteen schools in the next couple months. I don’t know if that can be done, but I am going to try. In January, I am planning to visit Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and North Carolina. In February I will be going to Duke, LSU, Texas and Ole Miss. March and April are where things kind of get crazy. I am planning to visit Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan, and Michigan State in March and USC, UCLA, Cal, and Stanford in April. It is going to be a crazy couple of months, but I can’t wait.

That is all I have for you at the moment. Make sure to check out all the rest of the player diaries and be sure to come back often. Follow me on Twitter @OPfreak15 to get updates on my season and also follow @RecruitDiaries to get updates about when all the diaries are posted. Go Rams!

P.S. Alabama will win the National Championship

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