Summer camp success has Seneca Valley linebacker Chris D’Appolonia committed to ‘dream school’

Sunday, July 31, 2022 | 9:04 PM

A broken hand sidelined Seneca Valley linebacker Chris D’Appolonia for a couple of weeks last season and limited his game film, so he was determined this summer to show recruiters his full potential.

The rising senior already shares his workout videos on social media, but he also embraced the camp circuit, delivering in-person performances that ultimately earned him an offer from his favorite school: Toledo

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound inside linebacker committed to the Rockets last week.

“I ended up going out there for their first camp June 3 and performed really well,” D’Appolonia said. “I did very well in drills and testing and one on one. I went to the Pitt camp a couple of days later and their coaching staff was there, too. I put on a pretty good performance there as well, so I feel like the consistency I was showing at camps definitely bode well with them.”

D’Appolonia also worked out at college camps run by Robert Morris and Akron.

He listed Division I offers from Colgate, Marist, Lafayette, Lehigh and added Toledo in late June. That addition was exciting for D’Appolonia, who lived in western Ohio for a few years while in grade school. His family’s home in Perrysburg, Ohio, was about 20 minutes from campus.

“Out there, that’s like the dream school to go to,” he said. “It’s like if you’re from Pittsburgh, you go to Pitt. So kind of growing up around that program, it was always a dream school.”

D’Appolonia earned WPIAL Class 6A all-conference honors at outside linebacker last season when he made 52 tackles and five sacks in nine games. He broke his hand making a tackle in Week 1 and missed two weeks after surgery.

“I got a screw put in it to get back on the field faster,” he said, “instead of waiting it out.”

This season, he’s moving to an inside linebacker spot, a spot Toledo also wants him to play. It’s a position he’s grown into.

“I’ve put on some significant weight the past couple of years,” he said. “After my freshman year, I was only 165 pounds. That’s when I really started taking the training and the physical part of the game a lot more seriously.”

He and some of his Seneca Valley teammates are trained by North Allegheny graduate Thomas Ricketts III, who runs The Lab Sports Performance. D’Appolonia is one of four Raiders players with Division I offers, including teammate Luke Lawson, who already committed to Navy.

“We have four at the moment,” D’Appolonia said, “and I believe that number will go up during the season as everyone sees what we can do.”

D’Appolonia’s strong camp performances meant he didn’t have to wait. Among his best summer stats, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.68 seconds and cleared 10 feet, 5 inches in the broad jump.

He said he approached each camp as a competition.

“I’m a competitor at heart. Regardless of what it is, I want to win,” he said. “Especially when it’s something like that, something that is important to me. I have to be the winner in those situations.”

His advice to younger athletes headed to camps next summer is simple. Don’t slow down, because the college coaches are always watching.

“They see everything,” he said. “Obviously, you want to do well in your testing, but it’s the little stuff that’s really important. Like being at the front of the line in drills and hustling from drill to drill and paying attention. Ultimately, when they recruit you, that’s the kind of player they’re going to get in practice.”

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at

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