When it was announced Eyabi Anoma would transfer to Michigan two weeks into training camp, the reaction from Michigan Wolverines fans was hesitant, but hopeful.
Though that hopefulness turned into full blown hype following Anoma’s debut performance, there was never anything but confidence at the graduate transfer’s arrival for defensive line coach Mike Elston.
“The first reaction was excitement,” Elston said Wednesday. “I remember recruiting him out of high school when I was at a different school. A very high level, skilled player that can add a lot to what we’re doing defensively.”
There was certainly no question in Anoma’s talent level, but with that talent came a tumultuous journey that saw him go to three different programs — his final stop, Tennessee Martin, out of the FBS entirely. While Elston acknowledged the road Anoma traveled on his way to Ann Arbor, he emphasized Anoma had a clean slate in Ann Arbor.
“I live in the present with a lot of what I do and how I coach the guys,” Elston said. “I don’t want to bring up anything negative in his journey. For me, for him here so far has been very, very positive, and the way I coach and the way I wanna build my relationship with the guys is in the present. So I don’t dive back into any of that and try to figure out his psyche, I’ve just never been a coach like that. I prefer to see who he is on my own and build that relationship that way.”
Despite starting so late into camp, Anoma wasted no time in acquainting himself with the style of play at Michigan — becoming perhaps one of the fastest Wolverines in history to go from entering the program to walking on the field.
The biggest factor, Elston said, was his willingness to dive right in.
“We threw him right in there when he got here,” Elston said. “We have special individual meetings with him to catch him up on all the fine details of this defensive scheme, but we didn’t slow down much of what we were doing in practice to catch him up. He’s just dove right in and done a really nice job with it.”
With plenty of opportunities to be had in the early goings, Anoma looks to make a name for himself. It’s clear from Elston’s comments he has no intent of slowing that down.