Maryland secured a commitment from George Bush (Sugar Land, Texas) outside linebacker Mbi Tanyi June 12, and afterwards his head coach, Allen Aldridge, offered some insight into the 6-foot-3, 260-pounder.
Here's our Q&A session with Aldridge:
Terrapin Times:First of all Coach, can you just give us a little background on Mbi to start? What kind of a kid is he; who is Maryland getting?
Allen Aldridge: He's a great kid, definitely one of the leaders on the team. He does everything the right way, whether that's on the football field, in the classroom or in the weight room or locker room. You're talking about just a solid, great all-around kid.
TT:What does Mbi bring to the table physically? I know he played mainly guard last year, but what does he bring overall from a physical standpoint?
AA: First of all, I have to mention his intensity. He's an intense competitor, and kids follow him because of that. But this year he'll be starting both ways for us, at right guard and defensive tackle. He's a strong kid, always in the weight room, and when you watch his film you can see his athleticism, power and quickness. He can really move, and he has the strength to go with it.
TT:Is there a play you can pick out that defines Mbi as a player?
AA: Oh yeah, definitely. There was a play last year, and offensive play, where we ran a screen pass and Mbi ran about 15 yards down the field to block his man. But our guy fumbled the ball and the defender scooped it up and started running back the other way. And Mbi, remember he was blocking now, well he got off his block, turned around and chased [the defender] down and made the tackle. That to me showed what Mbi was all about – intensity and effort.
TT:What does Mbi still need to work on to be ready to play Big Ten ball next year?
AA: I really can't point to one specific thing. He hasn't played that much defense and he's going to have to adjust to outside linebacker, but he's going to play a lot more defense this year and he has the tools to play that side of the ball. I really don't see any real problems or holes in Mbi's game. If I had to pick one thing, maybe I'd say pass coverage because that can be difficult to pick up on. But physically, he has all the tools you want, and his work ethic is off the charts. He just has to learn the little nuances.
TT:Mbi projects as an outside linebacker at Maryland. Does he have that kind of quickness and agility to make that transition?
AA: Definitely. He's fast, he's big, he's strong and he's dedicated. Playing the outside linebacker position, the nuances with that, it's not anything he can't learn. I'll tell you he will do whatever it takes to learn that role and adjust to that position. He'll be ready by the time he gets to Maryland.
TT:Do you see Mbi redshirting a year, or is he a guy that could maybe rotate in his freshman year?
AA: You never know how kids are going to adjust moving from the high school to the college level, but Mbi has the ability to play right away. In my mind, he has the tools and the drive to be ready to contribute right away. But we'll see what the Maryland coaches say when he gets up there.
TT: Do you think Mbi could eventually play offense at some point? I know a lot of times linemen end up switching sides of the ball in college. If defense doesn't work out, could Mbi play some guard or center in the Big Ten?
AA: It really depends on the staff, the college that he's going to and their system, but he definitely has the ability to do that. He excels on both sides of the ball. Mbi is the type of kid who is going to succeed no matter where he lines up. I have no doubt about that.
TT:What is your relationship like with the Maryland staff? Did you know them before this year?
AA: I really didn't know much about Maryland until Coach [Keenan] McCardell came through this year. But I actually knew Coach McCardell previously, because I played against him in the NFL and we had a relationship from that. I think it was back in 1996 or 1997, I was with Denver and he was with Jacksonville, and we've known each other since then. And we actually lived in the same neighborhood until about a year ago, so we've known each other for awhile.
TT:So how did the recruiting process go with Coach McCardell? How did he pursue Mbi?
AA: To tell you the truth, there really wasn't much to talk about (laughs). The Maryland staff saw Mbi's film and they knew they wanted him. There really wasn't much to say once I sat down with [McCardell] and put the film on. Mbi had an outstanding year last year and his film spoke for itself. Maryland saw that, and they stayed in contact with Mbi, let him know they wanted him, and Coach McCardell built a relationship with him. It just grew from there.
TT:What do you think about the Maryland program? Did you learn anything about the school from talking to Coach McCardell?
AA: From talking to Coach McCardell I can tell he's very excited about the program. He had nothing but good things to say about the program, the head coach, and the environment there. The one thing he put out there, and I think the thing that stood out to Mbi, was the academics. He stressed how great the academics were at Maryland, and I think that really impressed Mbi. Mbi and his family are very big on academics.
TT:Mbi seems like someone who is a go-getter. He doesn't mind experiencing new things, trying new things, and then going after it with full effort. Is that a correct read?
AA: Oh, he's definitely a go-getter. He's one of those kids that's going to be successful in whatever he does. He adapts, he adjusts and he has a will to succeed.
TT:Any thoughts on him going to college so far from home? I know he had offers from Houston and a couple of closer schools to home…
AA: Well, he does have an aunt about 20, 30 minutes from Maryland, so he does have family out there. But, like I said, Mbi adapts and adjusts. He's going to do just fine, and I'm not worried about him being [farther away] from home.
TT:And what kind of a person is Maryland getting here? Mbi seems like someone who fits in well with most anyone. What's he like around his teammates? What's his personality like
AA: Oh, he's a great, high-character kid with a great personality. With Mbi, it's all about business when it comes to football and school. When he has to get something done, he buckles down and does it. He loves to have fun, he gets along well with pretty much everyone, but when things need to get done he gets after it.
TT: It seems like Mbi has a very strong support system too. Just from talking to him he seems like a very well-spoken, grounded kid…
AA: Yes, he has a very supportive family, and they're all about academics. No matter where he goes or what he does, it's all about academics with them. And I think that shows in the type of kid Mbi is, and what he values.
TT: And last thing for you Coach. When did you first know Mbi could be an FBS player? Was there a moment or play that stood out in your mind?
AA: To tell you the truth, I thought if Mbi fit what [FBS] schools were looking for physically, he definitely could play at that level. Just the work he puts in in the weight room and in the classroom, he took care of all of that. He made himself very recruitable because of his work ethic, and I saw that from when he first got [to Bush]. I think Maryland is going to be very pleased with Mbi and what he brings from a leadership standpoint, a work ethic standpoint, and from a physical standpoint.
Coach Speak: Allen Aldridge on Mbi Tanyi
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