Hero Kanu-Georgia recruiting-UGA recruiting
All-American DT Hero Kanu took his final official visit to check out Georgia on November 6, 2021, at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga.

Hero Kanu: What did Hero’s mother have to say about his crucial UGA official visit?

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. This entry is about the latest with All-American DT target Hero Kanu from Germany by way of California.

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Mother knows best. That seems to capsulize every family story. It will also include every recruiting story.

It doesn’t matter the accent.

That’s one of the reasons why the last official visit for Hero Kanu to UGA for the Missouri game stands out as a Georgia football recruiting story we have never seen before.

Or will likely see again. Danke sehr.

“All of this really all feels like a fairy tale,” his mother Judith Kanu said on Monday.

She is so right about that. Kanu, a German native, picked up his first college scholarship offer from Penn State back in May of 2020. That was while he still lived in Germany. It came after a strong showing at a European prospect camp the Nittany Lions attended.

Kanu is now an All-American DT. The 6-foot-5, 295-pound senior from Santa Margarita Catholic in California didn’t even start practicing American football until he was discovered less than two years prior to that offer.

How did that Georgia official visit go? His mother granted DawgNation a wide-ranging interview on Monday afternoon.

“I think my favorite part of the visit is the game of course,” she said. “To see a game live in the SEC is really special. We had the best seats for us up front in the first row there just beside the tunnel where the players came in. I liked the intro a lot, you know? Where the marching band came in and played when they played the anthem. I liked the American anthem, it is such a nice one. Then the flight over with the aircraft. It was such giving me goosebumps. Every time. That was the most amazing thing.”

Aside from her strong impressions of the UGA program, a few quick storylines have emerged that will shape the next steps for Kanu paddling his way toward his ultimate decision.

  • No decision was made on the trip or immediately after the visit. The Kanu family and his inner circle won’t really start chopping up his options until later this week.
  • The 17-year-old Kanu is believed to be down to three schools. LSU is not an option as a part of the top 5 he released earlier this fall. That’s because of the uncertain status of the next coach of that program. Georgia is very likely one of those three schools. Kanu has a final four here which will also include Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Ohio State.
  • Kanu plans to huddle with his family over the next week. His mother plans to return to Germany next Sunday. It is not certain, but the hope is that Team Kanu will have made his college recruiting decision by that time.
  • Regardless of that choice, the plan will be to sign on the first day of the Early Signing Period in December. They will not release that decision until his announcement reveal at The All-American Bowl in Texas on January 8, 2022.
  • He cannot enroll early. That’s because of the difficulty in transferring as an international student in what would be seen as the junior year of the typical American high school education in 2020.
  • Judith Kanu said she really loves the American culture. She will not want to leave to go back to her career in Germany. She’s had a seven-week leave to spend this time with Hero to go on these official visits.

She will live in Germany when her son goes to college to play football. If her son chooses Georgia, then Judith might be the only Bulldog mom in favor of noon kickoffs. Munich is six hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone.

The time gap is significant. When her son plays his high school games in California on Friday nights, she will stream those games online at 4 a.m. local time in Germany. German TV will only show two American games every Saturday. The Bulldogs were one of the two games shown on German broadcast TV this past Saturday.

She also had a unique point of view about fans that leave the games early. Especially for the number one college team in America at this time.

“That’s a question I had for Brandon [Collier] and coach [Tray] Scott at the game,” she said. “For example, why are people leaving early from these games? Do you know? I don’t like that. Even if the second or third team are playing in a game? Why are people leaving early? Everybody has earned the right to play to be watched. Even though they are the second or third team, they can still make good plays. I have to watch them. I will always be there until the end of these games.”

Did you know the weekly DawgNation.com “Before the Hedges” program is available as an Apple podcast? Click to check it out and download it.

All-American DT Hero Kanu now has Georgia among his final four schools. He's rated as the nation's No. 15 DT and the No. 92 overall prospect on the 247Sports Composite rankings. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
Jeff Sentell, Dawgnation

Hero Kanu: What did Judith Kanu have to say about this visit?

With all that said, the visit to UGA went very well. Kanu was captured on an Instagram post by PPI recruits remarking that “This is a place I could see myself at” while the game was still underway.

Judith Kanu did clarify that her son had made a similar statement on some of his other officials, too.

It was a thrilling experience nonetheless.

“It was not such a good opponent,” Judith Kanu said. “Let me try to say it nicely like that. They were playing their second and the third team in the second half already but it was really great to see something like that. We don’t have it like that in Germany. The spectators. There were so many people inside the stadium. The atmosphere. The support for the team. The players. How they get hyped up. All the stuff it is just so amazing.”

She knew that Sanford Stadium can get much louder. Yet it was already quite loud for her. She knows her football. Judith Kanu even knows about the light-up Sanford tradition and the red LED laser lights.

“Georgia is really special,” she said. “You know? The stadium is special. With the recruiting room, you just exit and then you are inside the stadium. The whole building is brilliant. The people especially the people like coach [Tray] Scott are special. I was in contact with him already. He is a funny person. He always sends me funny video messages.”

“I’m really having a lot of respect for the head coach. He has really earned his name. He is a really smart person. When we got to eat breakfast at his house, the meeting we had with him I was very very surprised about how open he was with speaking about everything. Just the question he asked Hero wasn’t even about football. It was about his person. That showed me they have a lot of interest from the coach’s side. The whole visit was amazing. It was planned very well. Like we entered our room with a thousand Hero pictures all over. Very funny. Very fun. It was well organized and we couldn’t find that feeling like that one in any of the other visits except for maybe one other visit. I loved it. I just loved it.”

Hero Kanu just moved from Germany to California in order to play American football in October of 2020. He didn't play his first football game until March of 2021. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
Jeff Sentell, Dawgnation

Hero Kanu: What will be the first question she will ask her son?

She laughed heartily about the amount of food she ate on her official visit. She said the food that prospects and their families receive to eat on these trips is “unbelievable.”

Judith said she had grits on her plate one night. To be clear, it was a shrimp and grits entree. She did at least entertain the notion of trying to gauge which way her son was leaning.

“Hero is difficult to read sometimes,” she said. “He is always smiling. He is enjoying the moment. He will break down the whole thing for us later on when we discuss it. He liked Georgia a lot, but he likes the other visits also a lot. I told him I will just leave him with it for now. I will not ask any questions. We will discuss it later in the week. But for now, everybody has a lot to think about with this visit and the other visits. But this visit was amazing.”

She said “it will be so tough for him to decide” among his finalists.

“We now have to figure out where he can succeed the best,” she said. “It is a question of development.”

The next thoughts on the matter will now come later in the week.

“We have to break down everything after a couple of days,” she said. “Then we will decide. Then he will decide. Not we. Because he is the one who has to go to school and he has to play football. He will make the decision finally on his own, but we will still discuss it. I will advise him because he is very young and there might be some things that are important to him that are vitally not important to me.”

Kanu just celebrated his 17th birthday in September. He is a very young senior in the class of 2022. He could easily be a Class of 2023 prospect.

When she does approach him to start breaking this decision down, she knows the first thing she will ask him.

“Yes, I will ask him with which persons does he feel the most comfortable,” Judith Kanu said. “Because I know that Hero is not at home and I know he hasn’t any family around him. It has to be people where he really feels comfortable like family. But as I see it here with the football official visits, the football team is the family. It all depends on which people he gets along with the best and where he feels the most at home.”

What does she like the best about Georgia? She took a long pause before sharing that thought.

“I think it will be very good for Hero because Tray Scott told me that he is going to challenge him,” Judith Kanu said. “That is what he needs. Definitely. He needs somebody to challenge him every day. Sometimes he is a little bit lazy, you know? Yeah, he is still a small boy just in his own soul. Not his body. He needs somebody who will always be challenging him. So, I think that is what impressed me a lot that coach Scott just told me this will be hard times for Hero. He will challenge him every day. He was very sincere and open about that one. That’s is what I like the most about his person, but he is still like a father figure. A nice person. Hero respects him a lot. The respect is shown by coach Scott as well. That is what Hero needs. He needs that challenge every day.”

Character. Direct. Funny. Quiet. No nonsense. Those were the words she used to describe Scott.

“I need somebody who is sincere who is just speaking honestly and directly when it comes to Hero and that is what he does,” she said.

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All-American DT Hero Kanu took his final official visit to check out Georgia on November 6, 2021, at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga.
Jeff Sentell, Dawgnation

SENTELL’S INTEL

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