Lovejoy defensive end Randy Anyanwu has been a big part of the fourth-ranked Wildcats defense, which has only allowed nine points in its first three Region 2-AAAAAA games. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
HAMPTON — Randy Anyanwu admits that he played scared earlier in the season.
But it wasn’t because the Lovejoy defensive end was afraid of the fourth-ranked Wildcats’ competition.
Coming into the season, the senior was trying to recover from a nagging hamstring injury that saw him miss the team’s first game of the season against rival Mundy’s Mill.
In fear of re-aggravating it, Anyanwu said he held back some in games.
But it was hard for the opposition to tell as the 6-foot-3, 230-pounder continued to be a dominating figure on the Wildcats defense, which continues to be the cornerstone for the team’s success.
Heading into Friday’s key Region 2-AAAAAA contest against Luella at Twelve Oaks Stadium.
“I feel like I started slow, but I’m feeling real good now,” Anyanwu said. “I was a little scared about playing and re-injuring it because this is my senior season. I’m at 100 percent now, and I feel fast and strong because I’m playing real physical.”
And the Lovejoy coaching staff has noticed the difference in their standout defensive end.
“I know he was going a little half speed at the beginning of the season because of the injury,” Lovejoy coach Al Hughes said. “Over the last two weeks, he has really been playing well. He has picked up his play, and you can see the difference in our entire defense.”
Since beginning its region schedule three weeks ago, Lovejoy has only surrendered nine points in wins over Druid Hill, Rockdale and Morrow. Against Rockdale, he had three sacks.
“I can see myself getting better with each week,” Anyanwu said. “I’m seeing a lot of double teams and sometimes they are sending three guys after me. I fully expected that when the season started. I am getting my killer mentality back. Our whole deal is to stop our opponents and get the defense off the field.”
Coming into the season, Anyanwu was already on many college radar with 15 offers. He sports a 3.2 grade-point average and has already scored high enough on the ACT to be eligible as a freshman. He has narrowed his choices down to Texas Tech, Marshall and Duke.
He plans to visit Texas Tech on Nov. 2 when the Red Raiders host Oklahoma State, but has yet to lockdown his other visits.
Anyanwu recently gave his take on each of the three schools:
Texas Tech: “I’ve watched them play, and they have one of the best defenses in the country. It is probably my biggest offer so far. They run a scheme that I feel can fit me, and I would be comfortable playing in it. I can see myself playing there. The distant is not a problem because it is college football and it’s a free education.”
Marshall: “I’ve bonded real well with assistant coach Thomas Brown. He is from Georgia, and we talk regularly. He is a cool person that I can talk with about anything that is going on in my life. It is a good program with a lot of tradition.”
Duke: “Always have to look at the education that you get at Duke. Their graduates always have a high starting salary. It will give me a chance to play in the ACC, which is one of the best conferences in the country.”