Summer Update: Antonio Appleby

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One of the pleasant surprises so far in UVa’s 2005 recruiting class was the commitment from Salem (Virginia Beach, Virginia) star prospect Antonio Appleby . Appleby, who is rated the #11 prospect in the state by, surprised many when he chose the Cavaliers. He was thought to be favoring Virginia Tech at the time.

“I feel really good about my commitment,” Appleby said. “I feel comfortable with the guys…it’s a family atmosphere up there. And the academics are great. I’m excited for my senior year. I’m excited to finish high school, get to Virginia and help the team. I hope I’ll see some playing time next year.”

Appleby committed to UVa shortly after his unofficial visit on June 12th, which was a scheduled “Junior Day.” There, he had a chance to meet some of the players who have joined him as commitments in the 2005 class – a class Appleby speaks highly of.

“I’m real excited about the class,” Appleby said. “There’s a lot of talent. There’s a lot of speed and size, and I think we’ll be able to help Virginia win football games in the future.”

Virginia’s coaches have been sure to keep in contact with Appleby via the mail over the summer. Appleby says he receives mail from the UVa coaches everyday.

“I’ve been so busy this summer that I haven’t had time to keep in touch with the coaches,” Appleby said. “They have sent me as much mail as they did before I committed. It made me feel good. It surprised me that all of the coaches kept sending me letters.”

Virginia is recruiting Appleby as an outside linebacker/tight end prospect. Appleby, who plays defensive end and tight end for Salem, is up to 240-pounds, a significant increase from his weight of 215-pounds last season. With added size and strength, he believes he could be even more effective than his 75 tackle, 15 sack and 23 quarterback pressure last season.

“Before we started practicing, I was actually around 245 pounds,” Appleby said. “I’ve gotten down to 240 pounds since we started conditioning. When I first put on the weight, I felt like I might have lost a step. But now, since I’ve been running everyday, I feel like I have the same speed as last year and I’m more powerful and explosive.”

A more powerful and explosive Appleby spells bad