NORTH CANTON, Ohio (BVM) – Austin Appleby is arguably one of the best football players to come out of North Canton Hoover High School. A 2012 graduate, he was ranked as the No. 24 pro-style quarterback in the nation by 247Sports. He went on to become a starting QB at the Division I level before getting drafted into the NFL.
Now, the Canton native is beginning his third season as the wide receivers coach at Missouri State. The Bears kick off the 2022 season with their opener on Thursday, Sept. 1.
“I’m so excited for this group,” Appleby said in a Bears season preview. “The depth that we’re going to have, the explosiveness, we’ve got guys with great speed, great size, great length, great catching ability… it’s going to be a heck of a lot of fun to be able to go back into that meeting room with [head coach] Petrino and the rest of the offensive staff and dial-up ways to get all that talent to the ball.”
Appleby himself is no stranger to talent. In his last two prep seasons at Hoover High, the QB passed for more than 2,800 yards and 15 touchdowns. He would go on to be a starter for the Purdue Boilermakers before transferring in 2016 to play his senior season at Florida. He led the Gators to win the SEC Eastern Division and the 2017 Outback Bowl title. He ended his final college season with 1,447 yards passing and 10 touchdowns.
From there, the QB was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Dallas Cowboys after the 2017 NFL Draft. He was released shortly after, and in 2020, he retired from playing professional football as he joined the Missouri State coaching staff.
In 2020, the Bears made history when they appeared in the FCS playoffs for the first time in three decades. The Bears made their fourth playoff appearance in 2021 and they hope to do it once again as they also look to improve on last season’s overall record of 8-4.
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