Hero Kanu - Defensive Tackle
Geltendorf, Germany / Santa Margarita Catholic HS, (Rancho Santa Margarita, California)
6-foot-5, 293 lbs.
Hero Kanu is one of the most interesting stories you will find when following recruiting in college football. This goes for any specific year or class, not just the class of 2022.
Kanu is from Geltendorf, Germany, but came over to the United States to play football for Santa Margarita in California. He is a former soccer player that finally found his true calling. A soccer player with that kind of size is a scary sight, as even a football player of his size can strike fear into an opponent. This will be the first time a player from Germany has strapped up for the Buckeyes, and I for one an excited to see what he can do.
Ok, now let's dive into what he put out there on tape this year.
Right off the bat, the first thing you notice with Kanu is he plays with great pad level and leverage. He gets lower than his opponents and gains leverage with incredible speed off the snap of the football. When you couple this with the absolute power he possesses in his leg drives, he often times will push linemen right off the football seconds after the snap. He has a powerful core and leg drive, and with the strength training he will get in Columbus, that will only improve from this point forward.
In addition to his powerful build, pound for pound he is also one of the most athletic players in the class of 2022 despite his size. Kanu is a pure athlete that can beat linemen with power or finesse. His get-off on the snap is truly impressive to see on film. He almost appears to be offsides but never is, it is just the simple fact he is out of his stance before his opponent a good 90 percent of the time. At 6-foot-5 and 293 pounds, seeing him get out his stance quicker than you as an offensive lineman has to be disheartening.
The very first play of his highlights against California powerhouse St. John Bosco shows just how fast he gets off the snap of the ball. He immediately shoots the gap between the linemen and makes a huge tackle for loss. The second play of the highlight tape immediately shows the flip side of his game, as he bull rushes over the offensive lineman and makes yet another tackle for loss on the play. As soon as he gets leverage or the edge on a lineman, it is game over for them. He truly knows how to make them pay for bad form or technique.
The most intriguing part of all of this is he is still so new to the game. Almost like Dawand Jones, who had played basketball for the lion’s share of his life prior to starting up football, Kanu was the same way only with soccer. This just blows my mind every time I watch him play, as it is obvious he is one of the best players on the field, but when you try and accept this is all still so new to him, it has got to make you smile knowing the best is still ahead.
Larry Johnson seems to have another season or two left in his tank, and he is very excited to work with Hero based on interviews and what was said in various forums. Kanu came to Columbus over the summer just to work with Johnson, and even canceled his plans the very next day to come back and get more work in. That shows me he truly wants to absorb everything he can from coach LJ, and really has the work ethic to achieve greatness.
His run stopping ability is the part of his game so far I am the most impressed with, as he also can really anchor down and hold his ground, not allowing the offensive line to get that forward push they so desperately need in order to move the line of scrimmage forward on run plays. He can sit in the middle of the hole and be an immoveable object, which often times forces the running back or ball carrier to have to bounce plays outside that they normally would not wanting to do so on.
Once he gains the slightest bit of an edge or leverage on an opponent,, his pure power almost tosses them to the ground without any issue. It is truly a joy to watch, and I encourage you all to take a look at his film. 247Sports has his player comparison as Cameron Heyward, which is quite fitting given the sense he too also once walked the halls in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. I can definitely see him developing into a Heyward type, but he has a few areas he will need to step up before getting close to that level.
He is still so new to the game that he has obvious areas in which he will need improvement, but that is something his work ethic and determination will easily allow him to catch up on. He will need to learn more pass rush techniques and methods other than the bull rush and what is currently in his arsenal. This is something that will probably take at least a redshirt season, as I do not think he will be one of the players who gets on the field immediately as someone who is still very much learning the game.
However, Ohio State does not need him to make an instant impact with who is currently in the DT room, but they will very much need him the following year when there are a bevy of openings on the defensive interior. I think by year two, Hero Kanu will be bulked up and with just enough knowledge of the Jim Knowles defense combined with new pass rushing moves to make a real impact.
The defensive tackle room could definitely use a Hero, and with Kanu they just may have one. Oh, and one more thing, we are gonna be seeing a whole lot of the Kanu sack dance in his time in Columbus. Time to do the Kanu!