Alabama has pulled in some highly-touted recruits from the Maryland/Northern Virginia/Washington, D.C. area. Eyabi Anoma joins players like Cyrus Jones, Jonathan Allen, Da’Shawn Hand, Terrell Lewis, Trevon Diggs, and others to leave the area for Tuscaloosa.
Anoma was a 5-star defensive end from Baltimore, Maryland and the No. 4 player in the Class of 2018. He played in the 2018 Under Armour All-America game against other blue chippers, and he certainly lived up to the hype.
1st and 10: Anoma (#9) is the strongside defensive end. He’s a hair slow off the snap, but he barrels into the chest of Nicholas Petit-Frere (a 5 star tackle). Petit-Frere stymies Anoma, who disengages and keeps the tackle at arm’s length. Anoma gets free and loops to the inside. Pressure has forced QB Jack West to scramble to his right, away from Anoma. He adjusts and changes direction towards the sideline while keeping his eyes on West. Anoma sees his chance and hits the burners, quickly closing the gap. West throws the pass away, but he takes a big hit from Anoma.
3rd and 10: Anoma is on the right again. He tries to go to the outside of Petit-Frere, but that’s a no-go. Anoma’s does a nice job with his hands, however; so when he stops and attempts a different tack, he’s able to give Petit-Frere a little shove in the direction he’s already moving, which knocks the tackle off balance. West is already throwing the ball, so it doesn’t ultimately matter. Still, I like what I saw from Anoma. Fun note: Alabama signee Xavier Williams caught West’s pass, made a couple guys miss, and picked up 7-8 yards after the catch.
4th and 8: Anoma’s on the right. He’s actually a hair slow off the snap, but he makes up for that with some serious acceleration. Anoma shoots around Petit-Frere, who did not kick out fast or far enough. Anoma gets completely free and pursues West, who’s on a designed rollout to the right. With the sideline approaching, West tosses the ball out of bounds; but he still takes a hit from the relentless Anoma.
2nd and 15: Anoma takes a step to the outside then moves inside. This gets the tackle going in that direction, and it sets up the spin move perfectly. Anoma busts it out and is now free to get after QB Joey Gatewood. The offense was going for a screen, but that was completely blown up. To make matters worse, the other defensive end has beaten the right tackle and is already in the quarterback’s face. Gatewood slides out of the end’s tackle and takes off to his right. Anoma seamlessly adjusts when Gatewood changes his angle. He wraps Gatewood up and drags him down for a big loss.
3rd and 24: It’s the very next play. Anoma swats away Petit-Frere’s arms and maintains separation, allowing him to get around the tackle. Gatewood got the pass off, but Anoma lays a punishing hit on him. Here’s another shot of it.
Alright, on to the next play.
2nd and 11: Anoma steps inside before quickly going back to the outside. Petit-Frere isn’t in great position, but he manages to push Anoma upfield some and gets a little help from the running back. Anoma stays on his feet, however, and doesn’t lose sight of QB Jack West. West is scrambling, and Anoma refuses to give up on the play. He gets free of Petit-Frere and beelines for West. The quarterback throws the ball deep; but Anoma delivers a hard shove to him from behind, knocking him down.
1st and 10: Team Spotlight has an empty backfield; and Anoma is matched against Petit-Frere. The hand-fighting between the two goes back and forth, but Anoma maintains some distance while watching what QB Adrian Martinez does. He moves around to his left with Petit-Frere following, but the tackle gets a little off-center. Anoma uses this, going back to his right; and Petit-Frere ends up on the ground. Martinez is scrambling, but he’s got nowhere to go. Brenton Cox hits him first, but Anoma joins in.
Eyabi Anoma: Learn how to pronounce the name. He is a superstar in the making.