Thirteen years ago, a fearsome defensive end who played at Randallstown was rated among the top high school recruits in the country: No. 4 overall by Rivals.com, No. 7 by Max Emfinger, No. 13 by Scout.com. He was the Baltimore area’s top prospect in the Class of 2005, a bona fide blue chip against whom all future Baltimorea-area stars would be measured.
With another national signing day upon us and recruiting rankings for the Class of 2018 finalized, the erstwhile Melvin Alaeze finally has been surpassed in stature — and by a former Randallstown defensive end, no less.
Eyabi Anoma, an Alabama signee who spent his first two seasons at the Baltimore County school before going on to earn All-Metro Defensive Player of the Year honors at St. Frances, is a consensus top-10 prospect nationally. After a 22-sack season for the Panthers and a dominant showing on the postseason showcase circuit, Anoma now is rated by the three major recruiting services as high as No. 3 (ESPN.com, 247Sports.com) and as low as No. 7 (Rivals.com). In the 247Sports.com Composite rankings, he’s No. 4 overall.
That’s in a separate stratosphere from Baltimore’s best in years past. Since 2000, the oldest year for which 247Sports.com recruiting rankings are available, here’s the top-rated local prospect:
2000: Milford Mill WR Richard Johnson (No. 108, Virginia Tech)
2001: None listed in top 129
2002: Gilman LB Stan White (No. 221, Ohio State)
2003: Gilman DE Victor Abiamiri (No. 29, Notre Dame)
2004: Woodlawn OL Scott Burley (No. 160, Maryland)
2005: Randallstown DE Melvin Alaeze (No. 20, Maryland)
2006: Mount Hebron DE Aaron Maybin (No. 253, Penn State)
2007: McDonogh LB Derek Drummond (No. 1087, Maryland)
2008: McDonogh OL Lane Clelland (No. 244, Notre Dame)
2009: Dunbar RB Tavon Austin (No. 183, West Virginia)
2010: City WR Adrian Coxson (No. 127, Florida)
2011: Gilman QB Darius Jennings (No. 137, Virginia)
2012: Gilman RB-WR Cyrus Jones (No. 44, Alabama)
2013: Gilman DT Henry Poggi (No. 118, Michigan)
2014: Dunbar QB William Crest (No. 375, West Virginia)
2015: Franklin OL Pat Allen (No. 206, Georgia)
2016: Gilman DT Ellison Jordan (No. 180, Penn State)
2017: McDonogh OT Jordan McNair (No. 287, Maryland)
It might not be long before another Marylander overtakes Anoma. Sophomore defensive end Bryan Bresee is the top-rated recruit in the Class of 2020 — but he plays for Damascus, not Randallstown.