The Opening finals, held at Nike Headquarters in Oregon each year, is a big deal. The best of the best high school football players are invited to showcase their skills against those of their peers.
Most of the invites given out are for rising seniors, but out of the 166 players invited this year, only six were underclassman. Grayson (Ga.) linebacker Owen Pappoe, a Clemson target, was one of those underclassman, and it’s not even his first time at The Opening Finals.
Pappoe became the first rising sophomore to be invited to the prestigious event last year, and his excellent performance on a state championship winning team helped pave a path back to The Opening this year. He said he enjoyed the event, held last Saturday-Monday, and felt he performed well, showing the coaches and scouts how he has improved his game.
“It was cool, I enjoyed myself…I feel like I balled out,” he said. “I just showed that I’m improving day-by-day.”
Pappoe loved “the competition and cooling with [his] friends for the time [he] was there.”
Clemson had several big 2018 commits at The Opening, and Pappoe, already owning an offer of his own, said he got to talk with Kyler McMichael, Trevor Lawrence and Xavier Thomas. In addition to talking with some future Tigers, Pappoe already has several ties in Death Valley.
He told The Clemson Insider he talks with ex-Grayson coach and current Clemson defensive back coach Mickey Conn every other week.
“He checks up on how I’m doing in the classroom, weight room, and on the field every other week,” he said.
Pappoe also occasionally talks with former Grayson defensive back Ryan Carter, who is listed No. 1 at cornerback on Clemson’s depth chart this year.
According to Pappoe, Clemson, Georgia, Nebraska, Florida State and Auburn are recruiting him the hardest.
As for his decision, Pappoe said,“Whenever it happens it’ll happen.”
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