Hero Kanu: Europe’s first five-star NCAA prospect?

NFL players Bjoern Werner, Sebastian Vollmer, and Jakob Johnson were all highly recruited European prospects picking up blue-chip offers and earning three- and four-star rankings from various recruiting sites. This fall, however, Europe might be on the verge of history as it inches closer to its first-ever five-star prospect in Germany’s Hero Kanu.

The 6’5″ 295-pound teenager has quickly climbed the recruiting ranks going from an unknown prospect in Bavaria to a four-star defensive tackle dominating the Los Angeles high school football scene. Shortly after his first high school game this spring, the long-armed pass rusher racked up eight scholarship offers alone. International scout Brandon Collier is not shy to praise the young German.

“I would say he’s arguably the best player at every recruiting camp he went on,” Collier said earlier this year. “He’s going to be the best defensive lineman in his class, and I think somebody can really untap a first-round draft pick.” (via OC Register)

This past summer Kanu was part of Brandon Colliers PPI college prospect tour visiting several college camps across the nation. After a stellar camp circuit and even better film, the German defensive linemen racked up 26 division one scholarship offers from powerhouse programs like Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ohio State, USC, and Alabama.

Kanu recently cut his list of college destinations to five. The potential landing spots included Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Oklahoma. He had already unofficially visited the Oklahoma Sooners back in June but was back in Norman with his mother over the weekend. Kanu commented on his visit to Sooner country:

“It was crazy, the fan support is amazing. The whole stadium was packed with Sooners, I didn’t see anyone from the other team, it was just all OU fans going crazy the whole game. From the player introductions to the cheerleaders leading the ‘boomer’ ‘sooner’ chant to the game itself, my mom and I both loved it.” via (247sports)

Kanu’s play in the states has impressed scouts and coaches all over the nation drawing comparisons to several big-name NFL players. National recruiting analyst Greg Biggins sees him as a future force on Sundays:

A big interior lineman with plus quickness and athleticism. He’s naturally strong, shows a great get-off and has a rare combination of size, power and twitch with the kind of motor you love to see in an interior lineman. Has only played two years of football and is still learning the sport but has a soccer background that has helped him with his overall quickness and coordination. Player comparison Cameron Heyward”

As a child in the heart of Bavaria soccer is king. However, the well-documented lover of pretzels and Nutella quickly began looking elsewhere as his massive size soon became a disadvantage in the sport. The Geltendorf native searched for a local American football team and swiftly fell in love with the game. Months later Kanu found himself fully devoting himself to the sport. International scout Brandon Collier sees the big mans soccer background as a bonus in the trenches:

From the soccer background, he had great feet,” Collier said. “I knew when he started playing football he’d be really good. (via the Athletic)

After making his way to the US the 16-year-old landed at Santa Margarita Catholic high school in California. After arriving earlier this year, Kanu almost immediately shot up the high school rankings now sitting as the sixth-best player in the talent-rich state of California. Since then, the four-star has accepted an invitation to the All-American Bowl and helped his Eagles to a 5-3 record.

With the home stretch of high school football on the horizon along with the All-American Bowl and several high-profile visits to come. Kanu has a chance to become one the most sought-after international prospect ever reaching the illustrious five-star status. Despite the hype, Europe’s top prospect knows his college decision is about more than football.

“It’s the culture, the development and stability the school has and the relationships there and the education too. It’s becoming a slogan now for schools, it’s not a four-year decision, it’s a 40-year decision. I know that’s true. (via Irish Sports Daily)

Before Kanu there was former Florida State turned Indianapolis Colt Bjoern Werner and others blazing the trails as highly recruited European players. Now it seems Kanu is next in line as one of the nation’s or better yet world’s top defensive lineman prospects, as he sits on the brink of making European football history.

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Alex is a former NCAA and semi-pro American football player who is now located in London, where he works in digital marketing. His goal in writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and