The word “sleeper” means many things. In Aliam Appler’s case, “don’t sleep on me” might be the definition you’re looking for. As defined, sleeper means — something or someone that becomes unexpectedly successful or important after a period of being unnoticed, ignored, or considered unpromising or a failure. No one is calling Appler a failure, but he certainly has gone unnoticed.
Appler got a chance to compete against some of the best in the country. He camped at Clemson in 2018 and 2019, but this camp was a little different.
“We did some looking and it’s actually my 5th year at camp. I did 2 years at the youth camp! It feels great! I know I have to perform, but I don’t feel the pressure because I feel comfortable around them. Because of Covid, I haven’t been to a camp since 2019 but that year, I started outside with the rising 9th graders and they brought me inside to throw with the rising 19th and 11th graders. When I came this year, I was instantly put in the highly competitive group with Nico, Eli, Malachia and Christopher Vizzina. That made me feel great that Clemson coaches saw me on the level as those four, and when Arch came in in the afternoon, he came to our group. It’s not always like that at camps. It seems that other schools have a predetermined set of players they want to look at. I think Clemson coaches really look at players. I can’t say enough good things about Coach Swinney, always willing to talk to me and coach me up. Coach Streeter is a great coach too. I learned a lot and I’m looking forward to keeping in touch with him moving forward. Don’t forget Coach JP Losman. He’s fun and absolutely full of energy. I enjoy learning from him too,” said Appler.
Dutch Fork High School is 65-1-1 since 2016. This is what legends are made of. Current Clemson commit Will Taylor quarterbacked this team to two state championships, Is Appler ready to step in and lead this team? What are the Silver Foxes getting in Aliam Appler?
“Hopefully another Clemson Tigers! I’m here to serve my team as best as I can and play my role. I have some amazing weapons all around with Antonio Williams, Devin Hyatt, Nick Sowell, Jarvis Green, John Buetow, a huge talented O-line and a great defense I;m glad I don’t have to face. Not to mention Coach Tom Knotts!
Going from New Hanover High School in Wilmington, NC to Dutch Forks High School will be a transition, and quite probably a step up in competition.
“I’m very glad that my mom and dad exposed me to players and football outside of New Hanover County and outside of North Carolina. Don’t get me wrong, Brunswick County has Carter Wyatt, New Hanover had Alex Highsmith with the Steelers/Charlotte 49ers and there are others. I’ve been lucky enough to attend camps and training all over the country, with some really talented players and coaches.I’ve played with and against some of the best players in the country with the US National Team at the Hall of Fame Stadium (twice), played in the Pro Football Hall of Fame 8th grade All American Game at Canton. I played against Mexico in the International Bowl at AT&T Stadium in Dallas. The one thing they all have in common is the field is the exact same size, and while the plays and play calls are different, my job is the same.
Toget prepared for the season, I am watching a lot of game film, hitting the weight room, putting in extra time to get the timing down with my stud receivers and studying my plays.”
“I moved here in time for spring ball. I knew a few of my new teammates prior to getting here. They welcomed me like one of the family. It’s a great group of players and coaches here.”
Going from Wilmington, NC, to Irmo, SC, it’s a change of scenery; beach to the lake. How is the transition going?
“The move has been great! My parents are awesome, they do a lot for me and a high level football program was definitely a consideration when picking a new place to live. I’m a beach kid and Wrightsville Beach will always be home to me. I loved just going out and jumping on a boat with friends, swimming, and running on the beach. Now, we have a place near Lake Murray so I can still see the water. I eventually want to get a small boat but right now I’m busy catching up to Dutch Fork in the classroom and learning a brand new offense for me.”
Last year, a lot of people were comparing Will Shipley’s game to that of Christian McCaffery. Who does Appler emulate his game after?
“I like a few quarterbacks and try to emulate different things about each. My favorite is Russell Wilson, he seems genuinely like a good person on and off the field. I like Patrick Mahomes for his ability to make throws from awkward throwing positions. I do that too, probably more than I should, but the ball is on target. I like Peyton Manning for his preparation and overall game knowledge. There are so many more.”
Apple spent the weekend at Clemson, showing his talents in front of one of the top coaching staffs in the country. He will be at UNC and Wake Forest this upcoming weekend. What’s next?
“I am also going to Toledo, App State, Vanderbilt and the UNC-Charlotte Mega Camp. I would like to try and set up some unofficial visits but summer workouts start soon.”
The future is bright for this young quarterback. It’s in his hands. Sleeper? Yes, but with a solid season for Dutch Fork, he won’t be for long.