For any recruit, the process of choosing a college ultimately comes down to where the player feels most comfortable. That’s why Jesse Aniebonam carefully considered this decisive factor during his intense recruitment, gradually narrowing down his list of 20-plus Division I offers through research, friendly counsel and candid talks with coaches. In the end, the Good Counsel senior defensive lineman couldn’t shake an obvious truth — the school where he felt most comfortable, naturally, sat in the confines of his home state.
Aniebonam officially committed to play football at Maryland on Friday in a video telecast on ESPNews during Good Counsel’s season opener against Gilman. The senior chose the Terrapins over his other four finalists: Clemson, Notre Dame, North Carolina and Virginia Tech.
“I think I have not only a really good relationship with the coaches at Maryland but with the players as well,” Aniebonam said. “I believe it’s a perfect fit and I’ll be able to prosper there for the next four years.”
Aniebonam said his love for the Terrapins was confirmed during his visits to the College Park campus (and with Maryland just minutes away, there were a number of unofficial visits). He soaked up the atmosphere and all the program had to offer. With former Good Counsel teammates Stefon Diggs and Mike Madaras now on Maryland, Aniebonam also had the luxury of picking their brains with questions about the experience and how he might fit in with the team.
“It struck me at times when I had my visits down there and talked to the coaches,” Aniebonam said. “It was at that moment when you feel and get an image in your head like, ‘This is it. This is where I want to be.’”
Last season, Anibeonam recorded 46 tackles, including nine for loss, and 3.5 sacks in helping lead Good Counsel to its fourth straight Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title. At 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, he has the length, speed and athleticism to beat defenders off the line and sniff out the ball. Aniebonam said the Terrapin coaches plan to use him as a hybrid outside linebacker come 2014, which also will be Maryland’s first season in the Big Ten.
“That’s a blessing to me to be able to compete against the best competition in the country [in the Big Ten] and to show out for my city and Maryland,” Aniebonam said. “I’m going to keep working hard and keep doing everything I do to show the competition why we’re the best out here in Maryland.”
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