Once a five-star prospect and No. 4 player in the 2018 class, Eyabi Anoma has had a tumultuous collegiate path. After a strong true freshman season at Alabama, he left due to academic issues. He redshirted a year after transferring to Houston, but was dismissed from the team after violating team rules. Last season, he played at UT Martin after another redshirt year where he finished with 9.5 tackles for loss and six sacks.
His former high school coach at St. Francis Academy in Baltimore, Biff Poggi, is now in Ann Arbor as an assistant. Their relationship ties are an indicator by many as to how Anoma wound up in Ann Arbor under the radar right before the new season. Poggi is also one of the reasons why there is hope Anoma’s could turn things around and be an impact player for the Wolverines this season.
Not to mention, he would share time with a former high school teammate on the defensive side of the ball, Nikhai Hill-Green. Blake Corum, a leader on this team, also attended St. Francis. Perhaps he also knows true freshman defensive lineman Derrick Moore, who is coming from St. Francis this season.
This is a lottery ticket for Jim Harbaugh and the program. Players with the prowess and athletic ability of Anoma don’t come knocking very often, especially this late before the start of the season. If his former teammates and Poggi can straighten him out, and if Anoma can stay disciplined, he could contribute to a team looking to replace a ton of production at the position from 2021. Becoming a starter would be a long shot, but not impossible.
While I doubt that happens, even a rotational edge rusher could be helpful. At the very least, he could provide some real competition for the offensive starters on the scout team. He isn’t going to be an easy guy for anyone to slow down. Iron sharpens iron, and that is certainly the case here.
The Wolverines have become very successful at making stars at the edge position, especially from underdog situations. Even in the last two seasons, Kwity Paye was born to refugees of the Liberian War. He eventually was a first round NFL draft pick. David Ojabo was playing soccer and was in Nigeria and Scotland before becoming a second round pick. While the challenges were different, there have been success stories from greater odds that have come through Ann Arbor.
My ceiling for him would be similar production to the season Mike Danna had when he transferred from Central Michigan to Ann Arbor in 2019. That season, he started one game and recorded three sacks for the team, along with 20 tackles. He played well enough to be drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the fifth round, a team he still plays for today. Overall, it was a win for both parties.
And if this doesn’t work out, there are plenty of other guys who are much younger that can take those reps from him. The Wolverines are more than fine at the position as it is, but it is worth taking a chance on a player of Anoma’s caliber.