May 23, 2011

Appleby is back to full strength

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Eight games into the 2010 season everything was going right for North Canton (Ohio) Hoover quarterback Austin Appleby but it all changed in one play where he suffered a season ending right knee injury against Canton McKinley high school. Since that injury happened however Appleby has had something to prove and on Friday he was out proving it at the Nike Elite 11 camp.

The 6-foot-5, 228-pound signal caller was one of several dozen players who made the trip to Columbus (Ohio) for the camp and he had a chance to work with some of the top coaches on his game and get a chance to show people that everything is back on schedule.

"(Ohio State's team doctor) did my procedure and he cleared me on the sideline of the spring game and says that I am months, months ahead and that everything is looking great," Appleby said. "Last time I felt pain was January."

But how hard is it to get the mental part of an injury out of one's mind?

"Everything happens for a reason," Appleby said. "I play baseball and basketball and I got my first offseason. I put on 20 pounds and I feel great and I am so much stronger and faster and the surgical knee is stronger than the other way and it is such a blessing. God only gives you what you can handle so it has been awesome. I am working hard."

There hasn't been much time for rest for Appleby however between school, rehab on the knee and hitting the road looking at potential college destinations.

"Starting last fall we have been to 14 places and we finished a couple of weeks ago," Appleby said. "We have been everywhere from Gainesville (Fla.) to West Virginia to Northwestern to you name it and we are just building that list. It is like a funneling process, that is what we call it."

And this summer things are not going to calm down to any less of a degree with a full slate of college visits on the horizon.

"We are going through the Big Ten schools and go to the Ohio State camp for sure," Appleby said. "We are probably going to make a trip to (Michigan) and go to Michigan State as well and Iowa. Those are the ones that we are thinking right now."

Appleby has nine offers to date including eight from the MAC and one from the Sun Belt. Does any single school stick out or is there a short list of schools who have offered that are near the top of things?

"I am excited about everyone," Appleby said. "Every trip I take is awesome and every time I leave I feel like I can be successful there and it is really hard to say but the list is starting to be formed."

The Buckeyes have not offered yet but are keeping close tabs. If Jim Tressel and the Bucks brought an offer to the table Appleby admits that it would certainly grab his attention.

" I am an Ohio boy. Everybody loves Ohio State and you grow up being a fan and see that stadium over there and it gives you goose bumps and to play for Ohio State would be unbelievable to get the opportunity would garner high consideration," Appleby said.

But for now a lot of schools are taking that wait-and-see approach and while it has slowed down Appleby's rise with offers it is something that he and his family understand.

"We have asked where I am on the board and we have gotten pretty straightforward answers and what it is going to take is some camp days when they come out and see me throw," Appleby said. "A lot of the BCS (schools) are still on the edge and they want to make sure that the wheel is alright."


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