Auburn’s defense will return another key element in 2022.
Linebacker Owen Pappoe announced on Instagram Sunday afternoon that he will return to the Plains for his senior season. Pappoe joins defensive lineman Colby Wooden and edge defenseman Derick Hall as subclasses of the Tigers’ defense who will be back next season after reflecting on NFL decisions.
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“Relaunch it!” Pappoe posted a graphic on his Instagram account. The photo was accompanied by a caption which read: “I have to finish this thing the right way! Year 4 OTW (en route).”
The return of Pappoe – one of Auburn’s two permanent captains this season – is good news for an Auburn linebacker set to lose main tackle and All-SEC selection Zakoby McClain, as well as co-captain Chandler Wooten, who was second on the team with 94 total tackles, just two behind McClain’s 96 this year.
Pappoe has only appeared five games for Auburn this fall as he suffered from a lingering ankle injury for much of the season. He missed Auburn’s last four games, despite participating in bowl practices, and ended his injury-shortened junior campaign with 23 tackles, including three for loss, and a pair of quarterbacks. in a hurry.
The former five-star prospect from Lawrenceville, Ga., Played 29 games in his first three seasons at Auburn, starting in all of them. Considered the nation’s No.25 overall prospect in the 2019 class, Pappoe is the 10th highest-rated player to sign with Auburn in program history, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. He was a Day 1 starter for the freshman linebacker, starting with his debut in the 2019 season opener against Oregon.
He has 165 career tackles, including 12 loss and six sacks, during his three years with the Tigers. He’s also recorded one interception, four breakage passes, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in his 29 career games.
Now he’ll be back in 2022 to help anchor a defense for Auburn who, for the most part, performed well in his debut season under defensive coordinator Derek Mason.
Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on twitter @Tomas_Verde.