Lake Forest Academy (Lake Forest, Ill.) defensive tackle Wes Annan has not seen his parents since last July. The 6-foot-5, 275-pounder -- a native of Canada who chose to attend high school in the United States -- said his mother and father currently live in Ontario, and due to time constraints; jobs; and other responsibilities, the family hasn't been able to get together. In fact, since Annan began high school three years ago, he can count the number of times he's seen them on two hands (and almost one).
"My parents are actually from Ghana, and the immigrated to Canada before I was born. But when I got to high school age we felt it was best for my education and career to attend high school at Lake Forest, where I board," said Annan, who received his first FBS offer from Maryland May 12. "I normally get to see them about twice a year, and this year it's been very difficult because it's a big recruiting and academic year for me. I do miss them, and hopefully they'll be able to come down for one of my games this season."
While he hasn't seen his immediate family in person, Annan speaks to his mother on the phone as often as possible. The message she leaves him is the same one the Annans have been preaching since before Wes was in elementary school.
"Since Day One my parents have been crazy about academics. Before sports or anything, it's all about grades," Wes Annan said. "It's something I've kept with me, and now I have a 3.9 GPA. I know if I don't hit the books I'm not getting anywhere, so it's something very important to me."
No wonder Annan holds offers from schools such as Harvard, Cornell, UPenn and Colgate. Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan, Ball State, Holy Cross, Toledo and UMD have also pulled through with scholarships.
"The first thing I look for in a college is the academics," Annan said. "I'm looking for a program that's going to help me get a great degree academically, and also let me make positive contributions on the field. Finding a comfort level is also important since I'll be there for four years. But my education is my primary concern."
Which is why Annan was ecstatic when Maryland offered him May 12. Not only does UMD offer a solid education, and not only does head coach Randy Edsall stress the classroom first and foremost, but it's also an opportunity to play Big Ten football.
"I was ecstatic when Maryland offered me; I was going nuts," Annan said. "It was a huge blessing to get an offer from a program of that caliber. It's a very good academic school and a Big Ten school, and that's a chance to play at a very high level."
Annan said his recruiter, UMD assistant Chad Wilt, first trekked through Lake Forest a few months ago. He returned during the spring evaluation period to watch a team workout.
"Coach Wilt was very impressed with my speed and footwork," Annan said. "He's a very good recruiter, real enthusiastic and outgoing. But he's also straightforward and gave me a lot of information about the program and the recruiting process. He talked to me about the school and what Maryland is looking for in a student-athlete."
Annan went on to detail exactly what Wilt told him about the Terps.
"Coach Wilt told me that school-wise it's a great campus, everything is right there, they're right next to D.C., and it's huge. He said I'll really like it out there," said Annan, who plans to visit College Park, Md., June 1. "And football wise he told me they did fairly well in the ACC and are looking to carry that over to the Big Ten next year. It sounds like a very exciting place right now."
The Lake Forest tackle said he's eager to visit Maryland June 1, which will be one of many trips he takes this summer. Annan plans to camp at Northwestern, Illinois, Duke and possibly Iowa, in addition to UMD. He has been hearing plenty from NU and the Illini and believes they might offer in short order.
"So far the only school I've seen is NIU for a junior day," Annan said. "It's a real nice school, I know some players there and the coaches are great people.
"But I have to see some other places to see what schools I really like. No favorites yet. It's way too early to talk leaders."
Annan does not plan to commit until midway through his senior season or possibly afterwards. But, he did allow that his mind could change if he gets "that feeling."
"I'm a huge person of faith," Annan said. "And if I got on campus and felt really good about the coaches, the program and the players, I might just commit. We'll see how it goes."
For Annan, It's All About Academics, Family
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