Defensive tackle Hero Kanu’s recruitment took a little time to really get going, but it is soaring now. The 6-foot-5, 293-pound lineman is originally from Germany and still a little raw when it comes to football. But he’s become a standout at Santa Margarita Catholic High School and major programs across the country have taken notice.
He dropped his list of nine finalists on Friday, and will be picking from a group of college football powers.
Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas, USC and Washington are the finalists for the No. 82 overall prospect and No. 13 defensive lineman in the country.
Not being a Southern California native, there isn’t much hometown pull to USC for him, but he does enjoy being in the area and the Trojans — led by defensive line coach Vic So’oto — have made a major push.
Washington is in the mix and helped by Maurice Heims, a 2021 signee who trained with Kanu and also came over from Germany. Kanu visited several SEC campuses in June, including Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M, as well as Ohio State and Oklahoma.
He’s a very good athlete and his potential at this point really is unknown. Clearly, there is a lot to like about his combination of strength and quickness at this point. He’ll be one of the most-watched local prospects this fall, because there might be some five-star ability there if he continues learning the game and figuring out all the intricacies of the sport.
For USC, the defensive line remains a priority in this class. The Trojans are off to a terrific start with a commitment from five-star defensive end Mykel Williams (Columbus, Ga./Hardaway). USC is in good position for four-star defensive lineman Christen Miller (Ellenwood, Ga./Cedar Grove) and the Trojans also made a very positive impression on four-star edge defender D.J. Wesolak (Boonville, Mo./Boonville) during a late-June official visit.
There are a few other options out there, and USC could get an official visit from five-star defensive end Omari Abor (Duncanville, Tex./Duncanville) and are in the mix for four-star tackles Chris McClellan (Owasso, Okla./Owasso) and Anthony Lucas (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chapparal) and three-star Maxie Baudoin IV (Lafayette, La./Ascencion Episcopal).
The defensive tackle spot is important now as well, following the departure of Jay Toia to UCLA. That decision leaves a big hole in the middle of the USC defensive line moving forward, since it looked like Toia would be a mainstay there for the next three or four years. Instead, USC could turn to Ishmael Sopsher, Kobe Pepe and Jamar Sekona there this season, but the 2020 group will have an opportunity to quickly move in behind them or push them for playing time.