After impressing against a ferocious Yale pass rush, Howard Bison offensive tackle Anim Dankwah has been named the Shrine Bowl HBCU Offensive Player of the Week. A second-team All-MEAC honoree last season and one of just two Howard players on the Shrine Bowl 1000 Watchlist, Dankwah has been dominant this season as he looks to attract NFL attention.
Week 5 Shrine Bowl HBCU Offensive Player of the Week: Howard Offensive Tackle Anim Dankwah
Despite coming out on the wrong side of a 34-26 defeat, Dankwah earned Shrine Bowl HBCU Offensive Player of the Week for his part in helping the Bison offense trample over a highly-rated Yale defense for large parts of Saturday’s game. Howard dominated the clock and had significantly more first downs than their Ivy League opponent. But despite Dankwah’s efforts, two first-half drives that ended in field goals rather than touchdowns proved the difference maker.
At a listed 6’8″ and 365 pounds, the Ghanaian national is a man mountain who showcased his skills in multiple facets of the offense in Saturday’s game. Leading the pass protection effort from the left tackle spot, Dankwah helped the offensive line hold a normally unstoppable Yale defensive effort to three sacks, well below their average per game.
Meanwhile, he paved the way in the ground game, allowing freshman RB Eden James — son of Edgerrin — to average 8.3 yards per carry. Howard totaled 162 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground, with all-conference running back Ian Wheeler and quarterback Quinton Williams both finding the end zone.
The Howard offensive tackle’s ability as a run blocker was highlighted by Shrine Bowl Director of College Scouting Shane Coughlin, who told Pro Football Network that “Dankwah is an absolute mauler who is playing truly dominant football at left tackle. Especially in the run game, he’s showing improved balance and coordination. His body control and setup steps are controlled and measured and with his natural size, anchor, and power, he’s creation really easy movement and lanes.”
Coughlin’s opinion on Dankwah’s ground game capability was shared by Draft HBCU Scout and defensive line coach Gerald J. Huggins II. As part of their recently announced partnership, Draft HBCU is working alongside the Shrine Bowl to help promote players from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Huggins is enthused about the Howard offensive tackle to Pro Football Network.
“Dankwah is one of my favorite offensive linemen to watch. As a run blocker, Dankwah is a mauler.” The mammoth left tackle’s impact on his team is clear, Huggins states. “As I watch Howard University’s run game, you can see they run better to their left side. He does a solid job with his combo blocks, has the quickness to reach block, the speed to get to the second level, and he blocks DBs well in space on screen blocks.”
While his ability to carve open running lanes and finish blocks at the second level is appealing, Dankwah has showcased impressive pass protection ability, too. Yale’s pass rush attack features the highly rated Osorachukwu Ifesinachukwu who, after logging four sacks in two games, failed to get to the Howard quarterback once during Saturday’s matchup.
“He’s a solid pass blocker,” Huggins continued his appraisal of the Howard offensive tackle. “He has a strong punch and active feet on his vertical pass set, and for such a big guy he has the foot speed to beat edge rushers to ‘the spot.’ He’s still a very raw prospect, but with his size, athleticism, and having who I think is the best OL coach in the FCS coaching him, he’ll be a player we see playing on the next level.”
Attracting the “raw” moniker is understandable for Dankwah. The behemoth offensive tackle and Ghana native was a late-comer to football, having had a preference for basketball early in his time at Taft High School. In an interview earlier this year, he admitted to not even watching football until his junior year. At 6’8″ and with impressive movement skills, it’s easy to picture him on the hard court rather than the football field.
As a result of his late introduction to the sport, Dankwah was unranked by the major recruiting sites. To add further complication to his transition from high school to college, there was an issue with his NCAA eligibility. Despite receiving interest from multiple Power Five programs, no offers came until Howard gave him an opportunity to “attend a school of such caliber [that] would help later on in life.”
After emerging as the lynchpin of the Bison offensive line, that opportunity may involve playing on Sunday. If he continues to perform at the level that has earned him Shrine Bowl HBCU Offensive Player of the Week, Dankwah could well attract NFL attention come April.
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