Last summer, Hero Kanu and a bunch of other top international football players toured the country, saw a bunch of Power Five programs and got to determine for themselves which ones made the best impression and maybe which ones didn’t.
After lots of miles on the road and lots of thought, the four-star defensive tackle who is originally from Germany but who played his high school football at Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita Catholic narrowed his choices to Georgia, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, LSU and Ohio State. USC had also entered the picture once coach Lincoln Riley was hired
Saturday at the All-American Bowl, Kanu committed to the Buckeyes which had emerged as his favorite for some time and could not be beaten when the four-star was finally ready to make his decision.
What set Ohio State apart? Kanu’s relationship that he’s built with position coach Larry Johnson, one of the best in the business.
ON OHIO STATE
“Coach Johnson is one of the best coaches, if not the best coach, for the d-line. That is a great thing for me. I’m still raw. I have a lot of talent, I would say; but also, I need to learn a lot more and I think he can coach me like that, too. It’s just amazing the process that I have. It’s great.”
WHAT IT MEANS
Kanu played his high school ball in Southern California but he doesn’t have deep connections there since he came over from Germany. Still, USC has a lot of momentum in recruiting especially with local players so getting Kanu out of the region is massive for the Buckeyes because there is a lot of potential there.
Kanu has developed an outstanding relationship with Johnson and also with the Ohio State players and that was really the biggest selling point. What also helped the Buckeyes in a way is that some of his other finalists – namely LSU, Notre Dame and Oklahoma – have experienced significant head coaching changes this offseason and Georgia lost its defensive coordinator in Dan Lanning, who took the Oregon job.
Ohio State probably would have won out in Kanu’s recruitment regardless but all those changes certainly did not hurt the Buckeyes.