Former Lovejoy linebacker Randy Anyanwu committed to play football at Western Kentucky over the holiday break. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone) Former Lovejoy linebacker Randy Anyanwu committed to play football at Western Kentucky over the holiday break. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
HAMPTON — Randy Anyanwu and Justin Brown didn’t plan it this way, it just sort of happened because they both saw something they liked in Western Kentucky.
The former Lovejoy teammates took an official visit together, and decided to make it their future home. Both had some offers from larger schools in the SEC and ACC, but said Western Kentucky seemed like the better fit.
Western Kentucky played its last season in the Sun Belt Conference before moving into Conference USA.
“It is a program on the rise,” said Anyanwu, a defensive end/linebacker. “I like the direction the program is headed in, and it is a good fit for me.”
“The potential of the program, and the academic success of Western Kentucky is what sold me,” Brown said. “They have a good coaching staff that has had success.”
The Hilltoppers finished this past season with an 8-4 overall record and fifth in the Sun Belt Conference under first-year coach Bobby Petrino, a one-time coach of the Atlanta Falcons.
“They have some experienced coaches at Western Kentucky, and that is what attracted me to them,” Anyanwu said. “When I went there, I felt comfortable with the other players and coaches. The coaches are real energetic and they know what they are doing.”
The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder had offers from Texas Tech, West Virginia, South Alabama, Georgia State, Marshall and Temple. Although he is committed to the Hilltoppers, Anyanwu said he will take visits to Marshall, Middle Tennessee State and Buffalo later this month. He has already visited Temple.
“I’m pretty solid on Western Kentucky,” he said. “I’m just making sure it is what I really want, and that I’m not missing out on anything.”
After helping Lovejoy reach the Class AAAAAA second round of the playoffs, both players were named to the all-state team by the Georgia Sportswriters Association. Anyanwu made second team while Brown, a 6-3, 300-pound offensive lineman, was named honorable mention. All the recruiting services have them rated as two-star recruits.
Brown narrowed his choices to Purdue, Western Kentucky and Georgia Tech. He also had offers from Kentucky, Middle Tennessee State, Mississippi State, Alabama-Birmingham, Georgia State and Auburn.
Brown said he had Purdue as his top choice with the Hilltoppers No. 2 and Georgia Tech as his third choice.
“I didn’t no where the Purdue program was headed,” Brown said. “I like everything about Georgia Tech, but I’m not sure if they can get me to the NFL. I don’t think that style of offense will get me there.”
Brown said he wasn’t surprised that Anyanwu committed to the program.
“Of course I talked to him about Western Kentucky, but he really liked the environment on our official visit in December,” Brown said.
During the junior college signing period last month, the program signed 10 players. Western Kentucky has 18 high school seniors committed to signing next month on National Signing Day.
“I think I have the opportunity to come in and play right away if I work hard,” Anyanwu said. “I know I have to work hard to earn it.”