DT Hero Kanu left soccer and Germany behind and is eager to make big splash for Ohio State


Almost every Ohio State freshman has a welcome-to-college-football moment, and defensive tackle Hero Kanu remembers his well.

During a preseason camp scrimmage two years ago, Buckeye offensive tackle Josh Fryar pancaked Kanu.

“My stomach was flattened,” he said. “All the air was out. I was like, ‘Dang.’ I looked up at coach J (defensive line coach Larry Johnson) and he said, ‘You’re staying in.’”

Mar 7, 2024; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes defensive tackle Hero Kanu (93) warms up during spring football practice at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

Kanu persevered that day and ever since. Now he could be poised for a breakthrough on OSU’s deep defensive line. Ty Hamilton and Tyleik Williams are the projected starting tackles, but Kanu is among several pushing for more playing time.

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Kanu’s potential is particularly intriguing because he is still new to football. He grew up in Geltendorf, Germany, a village of only a few hundred people. His mom is German and his dad Nigerian.

Kanu’s favorite sport was soccer. He was a goalkeeper, and a good one. But when he grew to 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds as a teenager, he became too big for that position.

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Besides, he’d been introduced to football by an older friend, Phillip Okonkwo, who’d played high school ball in Oklahoma and believed it suited him better.

“Football is different than soccer,” he said. “I don’t want to disrespect anybody, but (soccer) is a little bit softer. If you hit somebody, somebody may fall (and draw a foul), and I didn’t like that because a lot of times it’s fake. I didn’t like the whole mentality. I was like, I need something new, and at…

Source link : https://sports.yahoo.com/dt-hero-kanu-left-soccer-184227636.html

Author : The Columbus Dispatch

Publish date : 2024-03-28 18:42:27

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