It’s gotten to the point where the offers all run together for Jesse Aniebonam. Same with the phone calls, his ringtone blaring up to five times a day with area codes from every corner of the country.
“I think it’s up to 40 offers now. My coaches keep track of it in a book because they are all jumbled up in my head,” the Good Counsel rising senior defensive lineman said. “My most recent offer was Virginia. It was sometime in the last month, but honestly, I can’t remember exactly when.”
Don’t mistake Aniebonam’s forgetfulness for ingratitude. While playing in shadows of past Good Counsel greats like Jelani Jenkins, Stefon Diggs, Kendall Fuller and Dorian O’Daniel, Aniebonam has worked tirelessly to position himself in the same privileged place of recruiting as those teammates he looked up to.
Now, fresh off earning the No. 95 slot in the latest ESPN 300 player rankings and the No. 94 spot on the Rivals list, Aniebonam is ready to make his college decision in the coming months. The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder has an eye on Good Counsel’s season opener against Gilman on August 23, when he plans to announce his commitment on ESPN.
“If something comes up or I make up my mind earlier and there’s a studio open in D.C., I might do it in July sometime on ESPN,” Aniebonam said. “But at this point, it will be no later than August 23.”
In the meantime, Aniebonam will work to whittle down his laundry list of colleges. Should his schedule allow it, Aniebonam plans to visit Maryland, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Alabama, Virginia Tech, Ohio State and Michigan in the next two months.
During the weekend of June 8, Aniebonam again made the short trip up to College Park, this time spending the night with Diggs, Zach Dancel and Wes Brown while chatting with Terps assistant coach and his primary recruiter, Mike Locksley.
The intrigue surrounding Aniebonam stems from his quickness off the line, agility and hand progression. The returning starter’s versatility has some coaches toying with the idea of lining Aniebonam up at the outside linebacker position at the next level.
“Reaction time is one big thing I focus on and getting to the ball as quick as I can,” Aniebonam said. “I’ve been working with a trainer outside of school to improve my explosion, doing power cleans and dead lifts, and also working on my hand progression because you can always get better at that.”
Joining Aniebonam on what stands to be a scary-good Falcons defensive line next fall is rising junior Darius Fullwood. Since garnering his first offer early this spring from Florida State, the 6-foot-4, 240-pounder is rapidly moving up many college coaches’ lists.
“I’ve had a chance to watch Darius since he transferred as sophomore from Gonzaga and it’s been good to watch him grow,” Aniebonam said of his teammate. “He has a big body but you can tell he hasn’t grown into it fully and has a lot of potential.”
Driven by a high motor, Fullwood has received offers from James Madison, Penn State, Virginia and Virginia Tech in recent weeks with Maryland showing strong interest. This weekend, Fullwood stands to gain another offer from N.C. State when he heads down to Raleigh for a camp.
“I just try to make sure I’m hustling on every play,” Fullwood said. “Some coaches haven’t seen me perform live, so they judge me off my film and they say they like my motor and how I don’t give up on any play.”
With Aniebonam and Fullwood manning a defensive line that also returns Jemal Averette, Derrin Myers and Joe Rali, Good Counsel is in good position to defend its four straight Washington Catholic Athletic Conference titles.
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