BALTIMORE, Md. -- St. Frances (Baltimore, Md.) 2018 defensive end Eyabi Anoma has been playing football for all of one year, but he’s already a record setter. The 6-foot-5, 225-pounder, who transferred to St. Frances from Randallstown (Md.) prior to the season, recorded an eye-popping 24 sacks in the rough-and-tumble MIAA A-Conference, which was an all-time league-high mark.
Not bad for a lifetime basketball player, who only started playing football at the urging of his father.
“I had a really amazing season. Like it was surreal for me. But I have to give credit to the people around me,” said Anoma, who has offers from UMD, Pittsburgh, UCLA, WVU, UConn and Syracuse. “My teammate, B’ahmad [Miller], he was the starting defensive end, but he moved inside to D-tackle. He became my mentor, though, and like taught me how to play D-end. Also, I’ve got to thank the St. Frances coaches for helping me and developing me. I mean, we played against teams like IMG Academy [Bradenton, Fla.] and Bishop Sullivan [Virginia Beach, Va.] and those are not easy teams. There’s no way I could’ve performed against those teams without my coaches helping me with technique.”
Anoma and Miller, who is committed to the University of Maryland, have formed a strong bond over the last year. The two are close friends, and, naturally, the graduating senior Miller has already told Anoma where he’d like to see the budding defensive end go to college.
“Me and ‘B’ always talk about Maryland,” laughed Anoma, who is roommates with another prime Terps' target, 2018 receiver Tyree Henry. “We joke about me joining him there all the time. And I’m definitely looking into it. I like Maryland a lot. It’s the hometown school and I like what they’re doing there. I feel like a couple years down the line they could be national championship contenders. And to experience something like that with ‘B,’ that would be pretty cool.”
Anoma said he’s begun to form a relationship with UMD defensive line coach and Baltimore area recruiter Mike London. The two have met in person during Anoma’s treks through College Park, Md., while the recruit has seen London at St. Frances numerous times.
“I’ve talked to Coach London and [head coach] D.J. Durkin before, and I think they’re great coaches,” Anoma said. “I really like them and I’m building a good relationship with them. Coach Durkin is a great defensive line coach, and Coach Durkin, he’s going to do big things at Maryland. They showed me what Maryland has to offer me, and it looks great.
“They told me they like me, they like how I play and they’d love for me to be part of the program. It’s something I’m looking into.”
Anoma was able to attend Maryland’s game against Purdue this season. He’s looking forward to returning for a basketball game this winter as well.
“It’s a good atmosphere and great fans at Maryland,” Anoma said. “I like the facilities there, the new facilities they’re building and just what they have going on there.”
The only other school Anoma has visited thus far is Pittsburgh. The edge rusher is in touch with area recruiter Andre Powell.
“Pitt was a good visit too. They’re trying to rebuild like Maryland, but they’re also on the come up,” Anoma said. “Pitt beat Clemson this year, which was huge. They have fight in them, and I like that.”
When basketball season is over, Anoma said he’d like to check out Florida State, a few West Coast schools and various locales throughout Big Ten and ACC country.
“I don’t really have a favorite team or dream offer, but I do want to see Florida State in person. That would be nice,” Anoma said. “And I like LSU – just their tough style of play. I liked Oregon growing up because of their uniforms (laughs). And there are a few others. But we’ll see how it goes.”
In the meantime, Anoma, who is from Prince George's County but has lived in Baltimore for seven years, is concentrating on his hoops season, playing wing for the Panthers. But Anoma realizes his future is now in football, and he’ll be honing his craft and hitting the weight room as soon as hoops is over.
“I definitely need to get stronger, that’s a big thing,” Anoma said. “Also, I’m running track to get even faster, and I need to get an even quicker first step. Of course, I also have to keep working on my technique since I’ve only been playing for a year.
“But I’m really fast off the edge, I have good speed, I have good length and I go hard through the whistle. Like, if you look at my tape, I never give up on a play and can catch guys all the way downfield. That’s what I pride myself on.”