Wanted to aggregate a little more info on our latest commit: Eli Ankou, the 6-3, 245-pound defensive lineman from Orleans, Ontario, Canada. Martin Cleary from the Ottawa Citizen wrote a good piece few days on Ankou (and another one of his team-mates) about pursuing NCAA scholarship dreams in the US. Ankou is considered one of the best athletes in the region. Here is a little run down of what the kid did to get his offer from UCLA before committing yesterday:
He was one of the top defensive rushers at the U.S. army National Combine in San Antonio, Texas, in January, which puts the Top 500 North American high school players through body measurements, physical tests and position-specific skill tests. After Nike football camps this spring at Penn State and Rutgers universities, he earned MVP honours.
"Getting an invitation to the Army combine shed a lot of light on my abilities. There were a lot of great players from the U.S. As a Canadian, I felt honoured to be invited," said Ankou, who is recognized for his speed, agility and explosiveness off the line.
He produced a video from those experiences and UCLA was the first with a verbal scholarship offer.
Ankou won't play any football this summer and will concentrate on improving his defensive skills at more instructional camps.
"As a Canadian, I'm showing a lot of personal commitment and I'm willing to travel to play the game. Coaches admire that," he added.
"Something that my coach said is that struggle builds character. If I did that on my own, I feel like I can tell myself that I did that on my own. But having a coach would not hurt. Having someone that has experience that knows what he's talking about would be good."
That lack of polish also leads to the inevitable question, ‘if he is this good without a coach, just how special can this kid be?'
Certainly his obstacles have not hindered his performances this offseason. Ankou has shown fantastic strength and athleticism, a great motor and even some intangibles that are rarely demonstrated on the camp circuit like leadership and enthusiasm. Raw or not, Ankou has been dominating.
On top of all of that, the physically imposing prospect has only one year of weight training under his belt.
If you want to read more here is a chat with Ankou on DN's Inside UCLA.
Here is a video of him as a defensive end at the Rutgers badger lineman challenge in New Jersey. Per the YT description he "was awarded Defensive line MVP and the Total Team player Leadership award as he competed amongst his peers while maintaining a certain level of leadership"
And video of highlights from Ankou's junior season:
I am never going to be a recruiting expert and have no intention of being one. But I like what I hear from this kid. While he may not be a 5 star blue chip recruit, he seems to have a lot of upside who can potential provide more depth in our defensive line in the coming years. He is currently listed at 6-3, 245 and there is a good chance he will put in about 30-40 pounds in his body frame and help us out as a viable DT. He could be a good fit in Tresey's quest to put together a tough, fast, and aggressive defense.
Welcome to Bruin Nation Mr. Ankou.