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January 7, 2013

Apple ready to get started

Follow Noon | Givler | Axelrod | Birmingham

SAN ANTONIO - Army Bowl week is officially over down in Texas and the future Buckeyes certainly left their mark in the Alamo Dome. Defensive back Eli Apple showed why he is one of the most highly ranked defensive backs in the nation with a strong week of play. Getting a win in the game on Saturday afternoon was just icing on the cake.

"It was great," he said. "This was my last high school game that I'm ever going to play so it was great to go out with a win. I have a lot of momentum going into Ohio State and I feel like I did pretty well (down in San Antonio). It was great competition out here and I'm just glad that we stuck with it and got the 'W' in the end."

Apple had some great battles in practice all week long with the East receivers and he credited them as part of the reason for a strong defensive effort in the game on Saturday with the East yielding just eight points.

"We had great receivers (on the East team) and they did a great job making us better in practice," he explained. "I think we did a great job of making them better in practice as well. Guys like James Quick, DeMarcus Robinson, Tony Stevens, all of the guys did a great job getting us prepared so that when we went against guys like Ricky Seals-Jones we were used to the speed."

Getting a chance to go against so many great talents, each of which posing a different challenge, was an opportunity that Apple really enjoyed.

"It was a great experience," he said. "We just got to focus on football, no distractions the whole week. It was great to really go hard against the best of the best, you can't ask for more than that."

Not only did Apple cap things off with a victory on the field, but off the field as well as he was able to celebrate a new future teammate when the Buckeyes landed a pledge from big-time linebacker Mike Mitchell at the end of the game.

"It felt great getting Mitchell," he said. "It's a great feeling having him and Trey Johnson, they're both great linebackers so I know that our linebacker corps is definitely going to be stacked."

Apple won't have much time to reflect on his Army experience, however, as he flew directly to Columbus from San Antonio on Sunday. Before he left, he talked about what he's looking forward to regarding his arrival at Ohio State.

"I'm just looking forward to Marotti's workouts," he laughed. "Nah, not really, I know they're going to be tough so I've got to be mentally prepared for that and get up there and show what I can do."

Apple is the No. 28 ranked player in the nation by Rivals.com.


Givler's Breakdown from San Antonio:

Apple was solid in practice throughout the week and that carried over into the game on Saturday where he was able to lock down his side of the field and make a couple of plays on special teams and in run support.

Even at 190-pounds, Apple still has plenty of room to fill out his frame and should ultimately play at least 20-pounds heavier than he is right now. Apple is already very tough in press man coverage and that added weight and strength will only help in that department. He is also a very willing tackler and can really pack a punch in run support, which will also be improved by the added mass and strength that he's about to gain.

Another thing to remember with Apple is that he does not turn 18 years old until August, he could very well be a class of 2014 prospect so he still has some physical development to go through.

Overall I expect Apple to come in and compete for that No. 3 corner spot behind Bradley Roby and Doran Grant this fall and become a multi-year starter for the Buckeyes.



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