Olney, Maryland – Four-star defensive end Jesse Aniebonam received his U.S. Army All-American Bowl jersey in front of his family, teammates and peers during an assembly at Good Counsel High School on Tuesday.
Maryland commitment Jesse Aniebonam is not only one of the nation's top defensive ends, he's also now a U.S. Army All-American.
The Maryland football commitment becomes the sixth Good Counsel Falcons player to receive the honor of being named to this game. This was a point that was reiterated by Good Counsel head coach Bob Milloy as well as by Aniebonam himself during our interview after the conclusion of the ceremony.
“It’s a huge blessing,” replied Aniebonam when asked what this all meant to him. “It’s a really big honor that I am able to become a U.S. Army All-American and to recognize me for this. There is a huge legacy we have here at Good Counsel with it so, you know, it’s a very big blessing.”
Despite being considered one of the top players in his class Aniebonam did not take any kind of potential accolades for granted. When he received word he had been named to the Army All-American game he was extremely grateful.
“I wasn’t necessarily expecting it that much but, you know, it came as a real big blessing,” said Aniebonam. “It came all at once and I was really ecstatic about it and it made me really happy. I have been enjoying the experience and am looking forward to [the game].”
The initial feelings from being named to the Army All-American game came full circle today as Jesse was formally presented with a jersey in his high school’s gymnasium.
“Today’s emotions were crazy big ones,” said Aniebonam. “It warms me heart to see my whole team, coaching staff, friends, family and everyone out there. It’s a really good feeling to be able to represent something so big. I’m pretty much at a loss of words for it, so I’m just waiting for January.”
Aniebonam’s senior season took an unexpected turn on September 20th when he suffered a concussion against the Gonzaga Purple Eagles that forced him to be removed from the field on a stretcher. Aniebonam has yet to return to the field for his Good Counsel team but is getting closer to doing so.
I’ve been recovering well, recovering fast,” said Aniebonam. “I’ve just been day by day getting better and better. I’ve been working out and getting myself stronger and really pushing myself to get back onto the field. I’ve already been cleared, so that’s good for me. I am working back into practice and working back into the weight room and just getting everything I can done so I can finish out with an amazing season.”
Aniebonam has been sidelined by a concussion, but he hasn't let that damper his positive outlook on his senior year.
While the Falcons star defensive end has had to miss games due to the concussion he feels as though his senior year, to this point, has been a success.
“I think I’ve been doing pretty well so far,” said Aniebonam. “I started out with the Gilman game and did pretty well then. I think I have been growing, growing, growing like more and more each and every game that comes. I am really content with my game right now so I think, playoffs especially; I am going to have a lot to come.”
Aniebonam went on to speak on the goals he had for himself and his team to finish out his career at Good Counsel. One goal, a WCAC championship, was a given but Aniebonam had another interesting goal he wanted to accomplish which he spoke on.
The biggest one is just getting to the championship and winning the championship to get the 5-peat,” said Aniebonam. “I want to end with a great season. I always have a thing, I used to do it with an already graduated player, but every year we’d fight for who would have the most tackles on the year, who was going to get the most sacks, you know. I won for tackles for loss and sacks last year but my friend who has already graduated, Marcel, he got it with total tackles. But really I am just really working to end with a great season.”
Aniebonam pledged his verbal commitment to the Maryland coach Randy Edsall on August 23rd and has been very pleased with the Terps efforts to this point in the year, especially last weekend’s victory over border rival UVA.
“It was a great feeling to see them win; it was such a close game,” said Aniebonam. “I couldn’t be there because I had a wedding to go to but I was following it the whole entire time. It was a real close game and I am glad they came out with the W. You know we’re 5-1 now so I think Maryland has done real well this season with their great start. I think they’re going to do real big things especially next year going to the Big 10 so, you know, it’s going to be great.”
Aniebonam expanded on those thoughts on what the 2014 Terps football season may hold for himself and his new teammates as they make the move from their longtime home in the ACC to the Big 10 conference.
“What can’t you expect really? It’s just crazy, amazing competition going into the Big 10 with the first home game coming against Ohio State,” said Aniebonam. “It’s a lot to look forward to, it’s a lot to take in but you have to always be prepared for anything and I am always prepared for anything so whatever I have thrown at me I am going to take it all just the same. When it comes, I’ll take it and I’ll be ready.”
While Aniebonam gives the Terrapins one All-American in their 2014 recruiting class there are two other highly touted prospects from the area, Jalen Tabor and Damian Prince, who the Terps are pushing for commitments from. Aniebonam has been in contact with both prospects and, while he didn’t offer any predictions, believes he has a pretty good idea as to what the two Terps targets are considering.
“I kind of keep it cordial when we talk, not too much spoken and not too much said,” replied Aniebonam. “But we all know we have the same feels for what we want to do and how we’re going to do it. I think I have a pretty good idea as to what they’re thinking but I don’t think it’s my place to say anything about it. In the end, it’s all up to them; they know everything so if they choose to then that’s great. It’s really great for them, and that’s great for us, but if they don’t then they don’t. But we’re all hoping.”
Aniebonam is ranked as the No. 5 strong-side defensive end prospect nationally and the No. 2 overall prospect in the state of Maryland by 247Sports. He has a 247Sports rating of 96, which equates to four stars.
In the recruiting industry-generated 247Composite, which equally weighs prospect rankings and ratings from major recruiting media outlets, Aniebonam is the No. 7 strong-side defensive end prospect nationally in the 2014 class and the No. 2 overall prospect in Maryland. He has a 247Composite rating of .9478, which equates to four stars.
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