Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. Today, we talk the latest with 5-star defensive end Eyabi Anoma.
Eyabi Anoma committing on Dec. 22
Eyabi Anoma has played football for only two years yet is one of the nation’s 10 best high school football players, according to the 247sports composite. That’s really all you need to know about Anoma’s freakish abilities.
Anoma was a basketball player at Randallstown High School before transferring to St. Frances Academy (Baltimore) shortly before his junior season. The 5-star defensive end was getting some looks by colleges on the hardwood but nothing matching the level of attention he’s received on the gridiron.
It took Anoma just a few games last season to start showing his potential in pads.
“He saw everyone getting recruited, getting offers and committing in their junior year,” St. Frances coach Henry Russell told SEC Country. “He’s sitting there with no offers midway through his junior season. I told him to not worry. By this time next year, I said, you’re going to be tired of recruiting and you’ll be able to go wherever you want. We knew he was special. When he started to put it all together, we knew he was going to be in a position to pick the college of his choice.”
That’s where Anoma is at now. The nation’s No. 2 weakside defensive end has offers from top programs across the country, but Alabama, Maryland and Michigan have emerged as the top contenders. The Crimson Tide have been considered the favorites for several months now. Even though he’s from Maryland, last weekend saw Anoma make his fourth official visit to Tuscaloosa.
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“He got to spend a little more time with the coaches, Coach [Nick] Saban especially,” Russell said. “He really enjoyed spending some time off the field with him. That was the difference this time around. The coaches were a little less busy with football. He got to get more on a personal level with everybody. He had a good trip.”
The Under Armour All-American will make his college decision on Dec. 22, which is the final day of the early signing period. He’s expected to sign with his college of choice on that day and enrollee early, according to a source close to Alabama. His academics are in check and he’s fully qualified, so there will be no concern on whether or not he’ll be able to enroll in January.
I fully expect Alabama to land his signature next week. There hasn’t been a moment since this summer where any source I’ve talked to near the Alabama program has felt worried about losing him to another program. Coming off this most recent official visit solidified the team’s chances at landing one of the nation’s best players.
His coach broke down why Anoma is so interested in Alabama.
“I think it’s a combination of a lot of things,” Russell said. “Alabama does a great job of getting guys to the NFL and putting their players in position to succeed. Coach Saban runs a great program. You have the academic support in place. All of the little things are taken care of in that program. Eyabi is also super competitive and hates losing. Alabama is that type of team. They don’t lose much. He thrives in those types of environments. I think that’s why he’s very attracted to what they offer.”
If Anoma does end up committing to the Tide, what kind of player would Alabama be getting?
“He’s a total freak, athletically,” Russell said. “He’s 6-foot-5 1/2, 235 pounds and can absolutely fly. He runs tremendously. He has a natural motor. Obviously, no one knew he was like that when he came here. He’s relentless on the field and he trains that way. He has a deep passion for succeeding and not failing. Those things fuel him. He learned how to play the game last year. He’s one of the best players I’ve seen in high school.”
Alabama doesn’t have any 5-star commitments in the 2018 class just yet. Anoma would be the first for the Tide this year if one doesn’t join Alabama before the 22nd.
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