The class of 2013 U.S. Army All-Americans will fly into San Antonio on Sunday to begin a week of preparation for the premier national high school all-star football game held on Saturday, January 5th. Ohio State cornerback commit Eli Apple is of course among the participants and the nation's No. 28 overall prospect spent this past Thursday in suburban Baltimore, Maryland working out with the Next Level Nation group to help get ready for the stiff competition he will face in San Antonio.
Apple has long worked with Next Level Nation co-founder and defensive backs guru Cory Robinson and credits Robinson for helping him develop into the prospect that he has become today.
"He has meant a great deal to my game," explained Apple. "He can relate to us about a lot of different things. That is the great thing about Cory, I can talk to him about anything with football, socially, or personally. You can tell that he loves the game and that he loves to coach. He's a very smart guy and I can't say enough about him."
Robinson and Next Level Nation have helped develop numerous Division I prospects recently, mostly coming from the Baltimore area, though NLN's reach is expanding as word is spreading quickly about their workouts. Apple is following the lead of several other NLN alumni in hoping to come back and help out the next wave of outstanding prospects.
"I felt like I had to come back here and just try and give back a little," he said. "It was also nice seeing some of the guys, some of the alumni that are now at Penn State and places like that, just guys that have worked out here in the past that I sort of picked up some things from, just some footwork stuff and tips."
Apple used the workout as a chance to hone his skills before heading to the Army Bowl and was able to compete against and alongside current Penn State players such as DaQuan Davis and Trevor Williams, both guys that came up through the NLN program. Apple will fly down to San Antonio on Sunday morning and is very much looking forward to the experience.
"I'm just looking to have fun," he said. "It's going to be some great competition with the receivers down there. Guys like Torii Hunter Jr. and I know Ricky Seals-Jones is going to be there too but I don't know if he's playing because of his knee but I'm just looking forward to the great competition."
While down there, Apple will also get to put on his recruiting hat as he hopes to help the Ohio State recruiting efforts for four-star prospects James Quick and Mike Mitchell. Both players are expected to make January 5th announcements during the game.
"I just wish them luck," Apple explained. "I know they are both going to do great in college. James Quick is a really good receiver, I've seen his highlight tape and he's also a really cool dude. Mike Mitchell, it's the same thing. I would love to play alongside both of them at the next level."