Last summer, in the midst of Michigan’s long satellite camp tour, Jim Harbaugh was in Baltimore in a Ray Lewis jersey for seven hours looking at two groups of campers. Among them were established prospects with offers from the Wolverines and other Power Five schools.
Who would have thought, at that time though, that the best prospect on the field would be a skinny, 190-pound basketball player-turned-defensive end who had not even played football the year before.
A year later, that skinny kid is five-star prospect Eyabi Anoma, and Michigan had an idea that day that he would become a top recruit. The athleticism and explosion were there, the size and experience were not yet.
Today, Anoma is at Baltimore St. Frances Academy, where he is coached by one-time Michigan staff member Biff Poggi, the father of Wolverines fullback Henry Poggi. He added 40 pounds since that camp and has attracted the attention of major programs like Alabama, viewed as Michigan’s primary competition for him at this time, although Anoma denies a leader.
Michigan was in early and that is part of what has the Wolverines in position to land the star pass rusher. He takes an official visit to Ann Arbor next weekend when Ohio State also comes to town. This comes on the heels of a visit to Alabama earlier in the month.
“They have really good coaches, NFL-caliber coaches that know their stuff,” he told The Michigan Insider’s Josh Newkirk. “So when I go up there I want to see how they coach. Are they aggressive? Are they conservative? Are they (relaxed) or are they on me? I want my coach to be consistently on me. If I’m going to do something wrong, yell at me. I take criticism pretty well when it comes to football, so I want that. I don’t want nothing given to me. I don’t want no promises. As long as that happens, I think that will be a good visit.”
Anoma rose from having given up football, coming back, and fighting for college attention to a four-star prospect during his junior year. As a senior, almost as soon as Scout analyst Brian Dohn saw him, Dohn knew he was a five-star. His performance against Don Bosco, one of St. Frances’ toughest opponents, sealed the deal. Today, both Scout and 247Sports have him as a five-star prospect with the latter ranking him as the nation’s No. 15 overall prospect.
“In his performance against Don Bosco, Anoma showed he was an athletic marvel, and he accentuated it with a tremendous effort and non-stop energy in the game,” Dohn said. “For Anoma, it begins with an unreal get-off at the snap of the ball. He fires off with an incredible burst, and he gets up the field in a hurry. Don Bosco tried to run away from him, and when he was unblocked on the weak side, he tracked down the carrier several times for a loss of yardage.”
Poggi, who has coached many Division 1 athletes over the years, is similarly effusive in his praise.
“He’s the best player I’ve ever coached,” Poggi said.
Michigan currently has 15 commitments in the 2018 class, but only one defensive lineman, Dearborn Divine Child’s Aidan Hutchinson.
Wolverines offer Houston junior
Houston Dekaney cornerback Marcus Banks was offered a scholarship by Michigan on Wednesday.
Banks, a 6-foot-0, 170-pound prospect, holds offers from LSU and Texas A&M, among others.
Currently still playing with his team in the playoffs, Banks said he would like to visit Michigan, but does not have anything set up yet.
Four-star OL to see Wolverines twice
East Kentwood (Mich.) junior offensive tackle Logan Brown is visiting Wisconsin this weekend, where he will see the Wolverines take on the Badgers.
Wisconsin has offered and recruiting analysts are split on the 247Sports Crystal Ball as to whether he will be a Badger or Wolverine.
A 6-foot-7, 285-pound prospect, Brown is one of the top juniors in the state of Michigan.
He will visit Ann Arbor next weekend for Michigan’s home tilt with Ohio State. He has already visited for the BBQ at the Big House (where he was offered) and the Michigan State game earlier this year.
Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.