Owen Pappoe has cut his list of contenders once more, and Georgia remains in the race.
The five-star outside linebacker informed The Telegraph of his top two schools, and the Bulldogs join Auburn as a contender for his services. Pappoe has been on Georgia’s list of priorities for quite some time, dating back to June 5, 2015 when he was offered by the Bulldogs.
“Georgia is my No. 1 school,” Pappoe said. “They’re just coming at me the hardest right now. Tennessee is also a team to keep an eye on (under first-year head coach Jeremy Pruitt).”
Pappoe visited Georgia on Feb. 24 for Junior Day and engaged in many different events on campus, including being a spectator for the Bulldogs’ basketball game vs. LSU, sitting alongside inside linebackers coach Glenn Schumann and newly-hired staffer Tyson Summers.
Georgia has been a visit destination for Pappoe on plenty of occasions, but he recently gained a perspective on how intense the pursuit has been. The in-state product also had significant interest from Clemson, Florida State and Nebraska, but the communication with those programs has tapered.
The interest in Georgia has only grown for Pappoe since outside linebackers coach Dan Lanning entered the program in January. Lanning, a former lead recruiter and on-field coach at Memphis, replaced Kevin Sherrer, who took a defensive coordinator job at Tennessee
“It’s the love that the coaching staff shows every time I come down,” Pappoe said. “Their fan base shows a lot of support, too. I’m treated like family.”
Auburn is making a similar push as Georgia. However, the Tigers didn’t seem to be in the forefront of the discussion until Pappoe took two visits in February. For the Tigers, relationships are key to recruiting and the coaches are in contact frequently to show their desire.
Linebackers coach Terrence Williams is leading that pursuit.
“They’re also recruiting me very hard,” Pappoe said. “They let me know all the time that they want me to be a Tiger, bad. The relationship I have with coach T-Will is stronger than one I have with any other coach. He is the reason they’re back in the running for me.”
Pappoe is the top-ranked outside linebacker in the country and the seventh-overall 2019 prospect nationally, according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings.
Georgia has one outside linebacker in JD Bertrand committed to its 2019 class, and pass rusher Nolan Smith, listed as a weak-side defensive end, is also a part of the group. Head coach Kirby Smart will have to wait a while longer to see if he adds another one of the nation’s top prospects.
“I plan to announce before the football season,” Pappoe said.