Signee Spotlight: Duke Anyanwu profiles incoming freshman athlete Duke Anyanwu from Elk River, Minn.

Profile: Duke Anyanwu
Size: 6-foot-4, 230 pounds
Hometown: Elk River, Minn
School: Blaine (5A)
Position: Athlete
Committed: January 13, 2012
Pronunciation: on-WAH-yoo

Prep Career Highlights:

As a junior, Anyanwu caught 25 passes for 361 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 27 yards rushing on seven carries and 51 yards passing, while leading the Bengals to a 10-1 record.

During his final high school season, Anyanwu earned Honorable Mention All-State honors while leading Blaine to the section championship game. He completed 101 of 174 passes for 926 yards with five touchdowns while rushing for 1,130 yards and 18 touchdowns on 199 carries.

Coach Matt Limegrover's Take:

"Duke's a guy we had in camp, we knew about as a junior. He was an interesting case because of his athletic ability. He was always a guy we really liked but we just didn't know where he was going to fit. Even when he came to he did some good things but he was kind of a big receiver, he played quarterback in high school, played free safety.

"We weren't sure where he was going to fit and then as the season went along he gained probably 15-20 pounds and really developed a little bit. We really felt he was a guy that could maybe be an H-back, tight end-type of guy for us because of his ball skills and also he wasn't afraid to hit you, he showed that on defense.

"We felt like he was a guy that his athletic ability, his body type, he's only going to get bigger and stronger and better. We felt like as an athlete, he was a guy we couldn't let get away."

Live Evaluation:

Anyanwu is a quarterback with great size and strength who runs hard and does a great job of putting his shoulder down and using that big frame of his to punish defenders and gain a few extra yards with each carry. When handing the ball off to his running back, he does such a good job of carrying out a fake and running as if he kept the ball that he usually draws at least one or two defenders to him, allowing his running back to have some big gains.

He takes all of his snaps from the shotgun position in Blaine's spread option type offense which has him running the ball much more than he throws, but when he does throw he shows good throwing mechanics and puts a nice spin on the ball. He also has a nice, high release allowing him to easily throw over defensive linemen, especially on screen plays. He is very good at flipping his hips and feet very quickly to throw the short hitch routes toward the sidelines, and throws well on the move too, showing great form in turning his trunk toward his target so he doesn't have to throw across his body.

While Anyanwu is able to use his size to gain a lot of tough yards on the ground, there is some concern about how well he would do against bigger and stronger defensive players in college. Although he can be a shifty runner at times, he probably doesn't have the speed and quickness to be as dangerous running the ball as he would need to be, to run a spread option offense like he does now. Anyanwu will need to transition into more of a traditional pocket passer with the ability to run if needed, rather than being primarily a running quarterback.

He will need a lot of extra coaching to make this transition happen, particularly with his ability to read defensive coverages and find open receivers early. Right now, when passing down field, he tends to hold the ball too long waiting for receivers to become wide open before throwing to them, which means he is usually under a lot of pressure by the time he makes the decision to throw the ball and is often inaccurate with his throws because of it.

If he learns to read the defense and anticipate the receiver coming open and get rid of the ball quickly, he would most likely improve his accuracy. If he can do that, he will give defenses a lot of trouble because he will be a threat to throw deep, throw on the move, or keep the ball and use his feet to make a play.

Getting to Know:

How has the offseason been going for you?
"The offseason has been going great. I'm doing track this spring to help with my overall speed and lifting as well. I'm looking forward to getting on campus next month and working hard."

What's your current height and weight?
"I'm 6-foot-4, 230 pounds."

When are you officially enrolling at Minnesota?
"I move into campus on June 8th."

Do you know whom you are rooming with?
"Good ole Andre [McDonald]."

Do you know what you're going to major in?
"Sports Law. I want to work for the NCAA ultimately."

Do you know what number you are going to be at Minnesota?
"I don't know that yet, but I'm sure ill find out once I get there. Ideally, I'd like to be either 3, 23, or 1. But a number is just a number."

Do you have any pregame rituals or routines?
"Yes, I do. Usually I put on my gear all from right to left. Also, I have a set playlist I listen to on my iPod before every game for every season."

Who are some of the artists on that play list?
"Some Lacrae, Big Sean, Kanye West, Drake, G-Eazy, R-Swift, Big Daddy Weave or whatever I'm feeling for the game."

What are your goals for your freshman season?
"My number one goal is just get better everyday and become a true student of the game. I want to learn from the upperclassmen and coaches who have been through it before and work my way up until I'm able to be a consistent contributor to the team."

Have the coaches officially told you what position you will play?
"Last I heard, about two weeks ago, Coach Reeves said inside receiver/tight end."

What are your favorite movies?
"My favorite movies are The Prestige, Never Back Down and The Guardian."

Looking back, what did you enjoy most about the recruiting process?
"Looking back, I enjoy the life lessons it taught me like patience and humility. The process was a long strenuous one, but at the end of the day, I loved every second of it because not many kids get to go through it. It's truly a blessing."

Evaluation conducted by Brian Ritchie

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