Most high school football players who are good enough to be recruited by multiple college programs go through a normal recruiting process. If those players are fortunate enough, they find the college of their dreams, sign their letter of intent, play there for three or four years and either head to the NFL or utilize their free education and go into the workforce with no college debt.
But Jeffrey M’ba is not your normal recruit, and he did not have a normal recruiting process.
A defensive tackle prospect in the class of 2019, M’ba was recruited far and wide to play at the next level. He learned how to play football in his native country of France — also at one point living in the Congo — and it didn’t take long for him to realize how good he really was. His family made quick plans for him to go to the United States to play at the high school level. After having to solve some issues with his visa, he eventually settled in and enrolled at St. Thomas More in Connecticut.
He quickly became a hot commodity on the recruiting trail, garnering offers from Michigan, Florida, Florida State, Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State and more. After going through the process, he found his dream school and committed to the University of Virginia.
Unfortunately for M’ba, his roller coaster of a journey took a downward spiral yet again. Because of academic transcript issues, M’ba was never able to successfully enroll at UVA, forcing him to push back his recruitment to the class of 2020. And in 2020, it was the same old song and dance with the transcript issues. He went back to the Congo to get everything sorted out.
M’ba landed back on his feet at Independence Community College in Kansas. He had a COVID-shortened 2020 season, but has finally found his footing this year. In six games so far, he has collected 27 total tackles (17 solo), 10.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. FBS offers have rolled in for the 6-foot-6, 305-pounder from Mississippi State, Arizona State, Miami, Oregon, Minnesota, USC, Nebraska and more.
One of the latest offers came from Shaun Nua, Courtney Morgan and the Michigan Wolverines, a program that originally recruited him two years ago.
“I feel so glad man, I was very happy,” M’ba told Maize n Brew Tuesday evening. “I talked with Courtney Morgan, he’s the recruiting director, and coach Nua. I have been talking for a long time with them. They wanted to make sure I’d be eligible to come. At one moment they said I couldn’t be taken because of my classes, but then they called me and told me I could and that I had the offer.”
Nua and M’ba have been familiar with each other for a while at this point; Nua originally recruited him when he was in the 2019 cycle. Another coach in Michigan’s corner who knows M’ba quite well is Biff Poggi, the former high school head coach at St. Frances Academy in Maryland. At one point, M’ba was planning on attending St. Frances to play for Poggi. While that never came to fruition, M’ba still holds Poggi in high regard.
“(Poggi) is someone I really trust, he’s the one who really brought me to the USA to play (football),” M’ba said.
M’ba is using an official visit this weekend to check out what the University of Miami has to offer. The next obvious step for Michigan would be to do the same, which is in the works for next month for the biggest game of the year in Ann Arbor.
“(I’ll be visiting Michigan) the week of the 27th for Ohio State for my official visit,” M’ba said. “I wanna see if I can fit in with the coaches, and in general. Fit in with the city.”
While his journey isn’t complete just yet, he is one step closer to arriving at his long-awaited destination — an FBS program that can help get him to the highest level of football.
“I just want to find a place that can make me realize my dream to go the NFL, but I know I need to keep working,” M’ba said.
And can that place be the University of Michigan?
“Michigan has got a lot of (defensive linemen) in the NFL, so yes,” he said.
M’ba plans to make his decision in December and enroll in January. He will have three years of eligibility remaining.