North Canton Hoover’s Appleby rebounding from injury

Image

Austin Appleby

Once considered to be a three-sport standout at North Canton (Ohio)
Hoover, a season-ending knee injury sustained on the gridiron in the
eighth week of his junior campaign has changed everything now for Viking
quarterback Austin
Appleby
.


Once considered to be a three-sport standout at North Canton (Ohio)
Hoover, a season-ending knee injury sustained on the gridiron in the
eighth week of his junior campaign has changed everything now for Viking
quarterback Austin
Appleby
.

“I was running down
the sideline and I was trying to take on a corner and he got just a
little bit lower than me and I got my leg stuck in the turf and it just
buckled,” Appleby said. “I didn’t feel a thing actually, I popped right
up, and I was getting ready to get the next play and then I tried
running and it just wasn’t right so that was just that.”

After some preliminary testing, Appleby and his team medical
personnel knew something wasn’t right.

“When I got the MRI, they saw it was, in fact, a tear,” Appleby
said. “I had surgery three days later, it was (Oct. 18) I think, and
since then all we’ve been doing it is rehabbing it like crazy. It’s kind
of unbelievable where I am from where I came from.”

Appleby, however, considers the entire ordeal to be a blessing in
disguise.

“It’s actually my first opportunity to have an off-season,” he
said. “I’ve always had baseball or basketball and this has actually been
the first time I’ve been able to get in the weight room and work hard
and start training for my senior year of football. I think it’s going to
help me in more ways than it’s hurt me. I don’t think it’s going to
hurt me at all. So quite honestly I view it as a blessing.”

But Appleby was admittedly scared when the injury first happened.

“Initially I was,” he said. “But I think it was more so because I
realized that my season was taken away from me in a snap and I felt
like I let my team down. We were beating McKinley and they honestly
couldn’t stop us and then I got hurt. And then it all went downhill from
there. If we would have won that game, we would have kept that momentum
and probably made the playoffs. I felt that I let the guys down more
than anything.

“But it was scary. You don’t know what’s going to happen to you,
there’s a lot of emotions going on. But since then it’s been nothing but
good news.”

He never doubted — not even for a moment — that he would be
ready for his senior season.

“From the second they told me that I needed surgery, I was like
‘All right let’s get it done,’ ” Appleby said. “They got it done and the
next day I was at therapy and I’ve been working this thing every single
day, balls out, and it’s been a grind. I’ve learned more about myself
probably than I ever have because of the pain that I’ve gone through.
But I haven’t had pain in this knee since January.”

Appleby has been under the care of Ohio State’s team physician,
Dr. Chris Kaeding.

“He’s shocked by how far ahead I am in my recovery,” Appleby
said. “He has nothing but good things to say about where I am and where
my knee is. He has full confidence in me and that just gives me all the
more confidence. So the knee is fine and I consider it a non-factor. In
fact, it’s stronger than the other one.”

Prior to having to have gone down to Ohio State to have his knee
taken care of by Kaeding, Appleby did attend OSU’s football camp last
summer.

“We went down there last year as a team and for the senior camp I
went down there,” Appleby said. “Coach (Don) Hertler, my head coach,
knows Coach Tressel pretty well and has a good relationship with him so I
got a chance to shake his hand and obviously meet him. And then I was
building up a pretty good relationship with Coach Sis (Nick Siciliano)
and he said that they’ll be keeping me on the radar and for me to
continue to work and that was before I ever started a varsity snap.

“So the next time I’ll be down there (for camp again) it will be a
little different. Hopefully I’ve climbed up their board a little bit
but I’ll just continue to work and get better.”

As far as baseball and basketball is concerned for Appleby, he’s
moved on as best as he can for now.

“It’s kind of a two-edged sword,” he said. “I want to play
baseball and I want to play basketball so bad. I want to get out there
and compete. But in the same breath, it’s the first time in my life that
I’ve actually had an off-season where I can really prepare myself for
my biggest season, my senior season of football, and really prepare
myself to impress coaches and try to earn my spot at the next level. So
I’d love to be playing right now but I’m getting an opportunity to get
myself even better for football.”

So now Appleby will try to improve on a solid junior campaign
where he threw for 1,480 yards and 14 touchdowns in 7-1/2 games for the
Vikings.

“I think I did well enough to turn some heads and get some
recognition from coaches and the offers have followed suit,” Appleby
said. “I’m definitely not satisfied. I’ve got to continue to work and
get better and that’s what I live and die by. I work harder than anybody
and that’s what I’ll continue to do to try to get myself to where I can
be recognized as one of the top quarterbacks in the state and top in
the country.”

At 6-5 and 226 pounds, the athletic signalcaller, for the most
part, is considered to be a pocket passer with pretty decent mobility.

“If I had to give myself a label I would say I’m a pro-style
quarterback,” Appleby said. “That doesn’t mean I’m not a runner because I
can, I’m more than capable. I’m very deceiving in my speed. But I would
have to say I’m very efficient in the pocket, I can make any throw on
the field. I can make that deep comeback from the field and I can do all
those things with my arm as well as with my brain.”

A 4.0 student in the classroom, Appleby certainly has a lot of
the intangibles you’re looking for at that position.

“I think one of my biggest attributes is that, from my
standpoint, I’m more prepared than anybody,” he said. “I watch more film
and I have an understanding of the game and what the other team is
trying to do to stop us and that’s probably the main reason why I am
where I am now, because of my preparation mentally, to know the reads
and to get the ball out as efficiently as possible. So I can run, but
I’m most comfortable going through my progressions and staying in the
pocket as long as possible.”

Ultimately, Appleby will fit nicely into some pro-style offense,
wherever that may be, at the next level. As of now, Appleby has offers
from Temple, Toledo, Kent State and Akron.

“I’m just focusing on working hard and letting those things take
care of themselves,” Appleby said. “I feel that I’ve done enough to turn
some heads and I’m going to continue to get better to turn more heads
from those who haven’t. The larger schools will take care of themselves
as I continue to work harder and I’m going to be doing the camp thing
this summer.”

But overall he’s happy with how the whole recruiting process has
been going.

“Recruiting is going very well. It’s very, very crazy. We’ve been
visiting school after school after school,” Appleby said. “We were at
UConn three weeks ago, Florida two weeks ago and Michigan last week.
We’re going to Louisville and Pitt this weekend. It’s been crazy but
it’s been really good.”

He claims not to have any dream school growing up although he
would love for Ohio State to get more involved.

“As an Ohio boy, everybody likes Ohio State,” he said. “But I
would never count out Michigan, I can definitely see myself playing
there as well as Florida. I had a very strong relationship with Coach
(Scott) Loeffler and Urban Meyer’s
staff before he stepped down. And since then that staff went to Temple
and Temple offered right away.

“I felt like I had a pretty strong relationship with Florida and
unfortunately they went elsewhere but that coaching staff was very
confident in me and they made me an offer.”

At the end of the day — or the end of the summer for that matter
— Appleby ideally would like to have his school picked before the
start of his senior campaign.

“I really want to have my decision made and have my school picked
and be committed before the first game, before I take that first snap I
want to know where I’m headed so I don’t have to worry about it at
all,” he said. “The quicker the better because I really want to focus on
winning a state championship for my high school and not have to worry
about where I’m headed after that. So in a perfect world, it will be
before I take that first snap but things will shake out as they go. It’s
really hard to say at this point but in a perfect world that’s what
we’d like to do.

“We’ll definitely have a busy summer. We’re going to be all over
the place to one-day camps. We’re going to shift our interest to those
schools who have shown the most interest in me. Obviously the ones who
have offered or are very close to offering are the ones that we’re going
to be giving most of our time to and I think that’s fair. The schools
that want me are the ones that I’m going to go after.”

Appleby thinks he can’t go wrong with that type of game plan
going forward.

“The good thing is, the ones that I really want to go to have
shown a lot of strong interest being Michigan and Florida,” he said. “So
I think things will take care of themselves in the summer during those
one-day camps.”

And for those other schools such as Ohio State that might
eventually arrive late to the party if Appleby should have a dream
season as a senior?

“Like I said it’s every Ohio boy’s dream to be a Buckeye,” he
said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to go to the national championship in
Tempe when we beat Miami and I saw the one when we played Florida and
it’s been a dream of mine to play for the Buckeyes and if I had that
opportunity that would be awesome. I would definitely put them in very
strong consideration.

“But in the same breath, I’m not going to be that kid who, if I
get offered, I’m going to go there right away. I’m going to weigh my
options out and go to the school that’s best for me. I’m going to earn
my spot wherever I go. I’m looking to play and I’m looking for that best
fit for me.”

Appleby visited Louisville and Pittsburgh this past weekend. He
intends to go to Ohio State next weekend for their spring game. He then
will go to Syracuse on Monday and then will attend the spring game at
West Virginia.

Click here
for video of Appleby in action from ScoutingOhio.com.

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