Hero Kanu cracked a huge smile.
The class of 2022 prospect had just finished up an impressive camp at Ohio State on Tuesday, working with famed defensive line coach Larry Johnson. Showing off his athleticism and leadership skills throughout the morning in Columbus, the defensive lineman looked the part of the highest-rated international recruit ever.
But when Kanu was asked about his experience at Clemson over 500 miles away from Death Valley, he was more than happy to chat about his experience with the Tigers.
“It was awesome,” he said. “Very, very great. Some tremendous players. It’s just an incredible experience. The first time on this tour that it’s been on college campuses and it’s great to see coaches in-person on a visit and not on a Zoom meeting. You look around, and it’s way bigger than you think.”
Kanu’s part of Brandon Collier’s PPI Recruits tour for international talent. The rising senior’s mother is German and father is Nigerian. He grew up playing soccer in Germany, and wasn’t introduced to football until he was 14. Now he has a chance to be the most recognizable international player to play the college game.
He spent his sophomore and junior seasons at Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Catholic, acclimating more to American football. He’s not a finished product, but his raw talent has him as a 4-star prospect and the No. 21-ranked defensive lineman in the nation.
The 6-foot-5, 285-pound lineman spent time last week at Georgia, followed by Clemson, Mercer, Alabama, Florida State, Marshall and West Virginia. He picked up an offer from the Tigers in late March, and since then offers from Ohio State, Alabama, Florida and Georgia have all rolled in.
Kanu has been in contact with Clemson defensive tackles coach Todd Bates and defensive coordinator Brent Venables. During his trip to campus last week, he was able to meet Dabo Swinney in person, too.
“I have a why, and I’m going to pursue my dream until I reach it,” he said after running a 5.25 40-yard dash at Ohio State’s camp.
What stood out the most about Kanu throughout his workout at Ohio State was his energy. The 12th-ranked California recruit in the 2022 class, he was always first in drills, vocally cheering on his teammates. With a good burst of speed and strength, he has a twitch not found in many defensive lineman.
The Tigers are still one of the favorites to land Kanu. He trusts the coaching staff, and his eagerness to talk about Clemson is evident. When the PPI crew wraps up its camp trip, he plans to take some time and evaluate where he wants to take official visits. The goal is to release his top schools list in late June.
Clemson should be right in the mix,