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A more focused Eyabi Anoma enters next season poised for impact

John David Mercer - USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes it takes stern coaching and seeing things through for one to understand when it’s in the right place.

After not getting a chance to contribute in the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship Game (2018 season) versus Clemson and not really seeing the field much at all last season, Eyabi Anoma contemplated leaving Alabama football this offseason. 

The sophomore outside linebacker from Baltimore, Md., had the Crimson Tide fan base highly concerned, upon him placing his name into the transfer portal. A conversation with head coach Nick Saban soon followed and it was probably one of those talks that gave the five-star confirmation in that if he proves he’s the best guy at the position, then he will be a big contributor. 

RELATED: Alabama’s transition to Kyle Flood at OL coach has been “seamless”

Since meeting with Saban and finding out Tosh Lupoi’s replacement at outside linebackers’ coach – Sal Sunseri – Anoma removed himself from the portal and is starting to show signs both on and off the field of him making a transformation to want to buy all into “The Process.” 

Sunseri, who was at Alabama before from 2009 to 2011, craves perfection and is not one for babying athletes.

During Tuesday’s presser, Saban said Anoma is responding “very well” to how Sunseri is coaching him and also mentioned that he is “improving” in his school work too. 

“He’s doing a good job,” Saban said on Anoma. “He’s working hard. He’s learning a lot. He’s been responsible in trying to do the right things and respond to people the right way. He is certainly making a positive contribution to the defense. That is our expectation for him and if he continues this way, I’m sure he’s going to make a huge impact.” 

It is easy for five-stars to dwell on conversations that individuals outside the program create about them; however, Saban is not one for distractions. Anoma gave external things too much attention as a freshman, but his focus must shift to performing duties on the field. 

The talent is certainly there, seeing how he was one of the top players nationally across the recruiting landscape for the 2018 cycle.

Listed at 6-foot-5 and 252 pounds, Anoma was ranked No. 4 on the ESPN 300 and its No. 2 defensive end from St. Frances Academy.

A ferocious pass rusher, he totaled over 50 sacks in two years – including 25-plus sacks during his senior year. 

He collected nine tackles (two for loss) in 2018 for the Tide and with senior Terrell Lewis being limited for the rest of spring practice, Anoma is getting more opportunities to grow.  

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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