Written by Ryan Wright
South Carolina high school football fans are in store for a show during the 2021 season. A new gunslinger is in town ready to take on 5A defenses hailing from North Carolina, and his name is Aliam (Uh-Lee-am) Appler.
Appler got his first spin at the varsity level during the 2020 season with New Hanover. During the Wildcats four-game season, their 6-4, 202-pound, quarterback connected on 32 completions for 447 yards with four touchdowns tossed. Under the bright and successful lights at Dutch Fork, Appler has found a new home. The new digs and ample instruction at college camps up and down the east coast promises for a breakthrough campaign sure to grab more recruiting interest to go along with his offer from Bowling Green.
In an RNG interview partnered with QB Hit List, Appler breaks down his offseason workouts and camp circuit as he prepares to take the field with the Silver Foxes this fall.
Aliam, you went into the toolbox last season displaying the arm talents, throwing on the run, putting it in tight windows on a rope, and with some air under it letting your receivers run bring it down in stride. When you closed out your sophomore season, what was clicking for you as a passing quarterback?
I finally started getting the hang of running an offense. My first year I was on JV; I didn’t have that varsity experience yet. During my sophomore year on varsity, I started getting a hang on the high school game – reading defenses and going against tough competition.
Over the offseason you made the move to Dutch Fork; what style of offense will you be executing with the Silver Foxes this fall?
We have a lot of great players. We will can run and pass. Our offense is more of a Spread. We are a pass to open up the run. We will pass a lot with some great receivers; that will be fun.
Getting acclimated to your new teammates, how have you worked with your skill guys to prepare for the upcoming schedule?
Besides our practices this spring and summer, I am going out as many times as I can to throw with our receivers. Sometimes it is tough to get everyone. One of main receivers was hurt. I try to get as many receivers as I can to go throw, go through the routes, and getting the timing down.
With your mechanics, what have you been working on with your throwing motion?
My main thing at New Hanover, I was in a bad habit of only using my arm. At Dutch Fork, I learned I cannot do that anymore. Now I am using my whole body, my hips, and legs. I’ve been working on everything, but mainly my lower half and not side-arming it. I have gotten better at it.
What have you been doing to tie your footwork in with your arm motion?
After going to a lot of camps, not just college camps, I have been working on my footwork. And I have been working on my own, staying after practice working with my coach on my footwork. I know I have a lot to do; I am doing everything I can to fix that.
After all the hard work put into fine-tuning your skills, what are you ready to showcase this fall once the season begins?
I’m ready to show people who I really am. I am not a big talker, I don’t talk about myself a lot. My sophomore year was so short, I have not been able to showcase myself except at camps. Camps are helpful, but it doesn’t show what you can do in a game. Now that we are back to normal football, I want to show people what I can do.
You mentioned camps, did you compete at any national camps this year?
Yes, I went to an Under Armour camp, that was my first one this summer.
The big stage of an Under Armour camp, how did that go for you?
I think it went really well. That was my main point to start fixing my form. They said I did well, but they had more to say about my form. The camp was good; I saw a lot of people I have not seen in a while. They had great coaches there; they know what they are doing. I am excited for next year.
Which college camps did you go to?
I went to a lot: Toledo, App State, Clemson, Charlotte, and North Carolina. I have Coastal Carolina on Monday.
Clemson, how did that camp go?
That was fun. I think I did well. Clemson is a top program; they had great players there. (5-Star QB) Arch Manning was there. He was cool to meet after seeing the videos and highlights. He is a great quarterback and matches the five-star standards. It is always amazing to see the coaches and players at Clemson. It was awesome.
And the North Carolina camp, tell me about your performance at that camp; what all did they have you do?
At first, we went through the combine testing and did the 40s. After that we went into groups and did individual work as quarterbacks. Then we threw into a net, did a 3-step drop, and gap escape throwing into the net. We did a bunch of game scenarios, on the run, 5- and 3-step drops. Later on, we threw on air with receivers and did one-on-ones. The one-on-ones were great. I had a lot of fun there.
Let’s talk recruiting. Which schools are showing interest?
I have been in touch with a lot of colleges. Since I am a rising junior, they can’t call me yet. Toledo, I have been building a great relationship with Coach (Robert) Weiner (co-OC/QB), UNC Charlotte has shown interest, I camped there and took a visit. I did really well at the Charlotte camp. They are keeping their eye on me. They want to see my early season game film. App State and Coastal Carolina are showing interest and I have some phone numbers of Clemson and Notre Dame coaches.
Which program has offered you?
Picking up that first offer from Bowling Green, what was that like for you?
That was crazy. I had zero clue they were going to offer me. I went to a Toledo camp; Bowling is their archrival. Later on after the camp, their head coach and recruiting coordinator followed me on Twitter. I messaged them to say thank you, calling them to let them know who I was. They knew who I was; they had seen my film. On the call, they straight up said they were offering me. I had zero clue that was going to happen. I was speechless. All I could say was “thank you”. I had no idea what to say. My parents had never seen me speechless before.
Which schools did you visit this summer?
Toledo, App State, UNC Charlotte, and I might get one at Coastal on Monday.
Aliam, thanks for your time today. Wishing you success at Coastal Carolina on Monday.
Yes, sir. Thank you.
Photo credit: Appler family; Aliam Appler
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