Trainer of Rivals250 EDGE Enow Etta: 'Michigan is getting a great player'
Tank Reed might have a training clinic that develops high school defensive ends and outside linebackers hailing from the Dallas, Texas, metroplex, which specializes in pass rush techniques, but there's more to Reed's regiment that gets his players ready for the next level.
Specifically, Reed nurtures the athletes who enter his academy through the importance of academics. As a former graduate of Iowa State and eight-year NFL veteran, Reed keeps it honest in terms of how to prepare for life after high school.
Not everyone who plays college football is going to make it as a professional with less than two percent of those in the collegiate ranks getting drafted to the NFL. Graduating with a degree that can lead to a comfortable and prosperous adulthood is part of Reed's message to his players in their search for a school that can meet their off the field goals.
Reed has a list of schools country-wide that he shares with the trainees in which they have to go visit at least one during their early careers. Visiting to grasp the educational benefits and not just the football side of things. Among those on the list is Michigan.
For the underclassmen participating in Reed's organization, debuting in 2012, picturing Michigan as a destination became even more prominent once 2023 Rivals250 four-star EDGE Enow Etta announced his commitment to the Wolverines earlier this week.
Etta, out of Colleyville (Texas) Covenant Christian, has worked with Reed since his freshman year, around the same time that he got introduced to the sport. Etta is one of multiple four-star prospects who train under Reed and one of the many rising juniors in the system who possess a Division I offer.
"(Etta's) development was exactly how I figured it would be once I started working with him," Reed told Maize & Blue Review. "He had the natural size, was twitchy, flexible, and explosive for a kid who didn't know much about the game at the beginning. It's been an honor, a privilege to be with him, and to see his growth. He's one of the best kids in the state, if not the country."
The story of how a raw athlete like Etta became one of the hottest recruited recruits in the state of Texas and nationally might have had different chapters written about it had he decided to forgo football and transition to basketball.
Reed remembers when Etta came to him thinking about transferring from Covenant Christian and continue pursuing athletics in another avenue. Reed had to remind Etta that shifting attention away from football would mean a loss in opportunity that couldn't be replicated in basketball. Since then, everything that Reed promised Etta has come in full swing.
At 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds with an 81-inch wingspan, Etta entered the late spring of this year with 30 offers, as program officials over time began to see what Reed predicted with Etta honing the complete package as a fierce competitor with an intelligent mind. That's based solely on three years of experience, hence the incredible upside that Etta owns entering college.
"Enow is a hard worker," Reed said. "He hasn't even scratch the surface of what he can become. You have to remember that he didn't start playing football up until three years ago. Three years ago, man. So for him to pick up the game and blossom after not being on a strong strength and conditioning program. You add that and he'll only get faster and stronger. He's flexible, very limber, has great hips, and twitch. Those are a lot of things high schoolers struggle with but he already has the "it" factor."
Coming off his junior season in which he recorded 17 sacks, months went by and it came time for Etta to start narrowing down his choices. Dropping a final four back in late-June that featured Michigan, Michigan State, Alabama, and Stanford, there was an underlying theme included in that list.
Basically, no Texas programs were mentioned. That's despite picking up offers from Baylor, Rice, SMU, and TCU. Other nearby mid south prominent schools like Oklahoma and Oklahoma State also offered at one point. But it became evident from Etta's leaders that leaving his home state was part of the plan, even if it meant moving as far north as Michigan.
With the Wolverines remaining in the fold late and eventually receiving the budding commitment speaks on behalf of them able to travel down to a recruiting hotbed like the Dallas metroplex and reap the rewards of prioritizing a high four-star player throughout the offseason.
"It says a lot for Michigan to come down and steal a kid here," Reed said. "The SEC lives and thrives in this area with Texas A&M and also Texas soon to join the conference. You also got the Big 12 schools coming in here like Texas Tech and TCU. I didn't even mention SMU. So for Michigan to get Enow says a lot about their recruiting and what they can offer."
Etta was long considered to be a top EDGE rusher on Michigan's board because of the push made by Mike Elston once he came over from Notre Dame. Elston kept in contact with Reed and Covenant Christian head coach Phil Towe in the months since accepting the job at Michigan in his efforts to stay ahead of the competition.
"Big ups to coach Elston," Reed said. "I have mad respect for him. He could call me and the head coach of Enow's school constantly. He would ask 'what is it that I have to do to get Enow?' He really wanted Enow and made Enow feel wanted. I'm sure the other schools in his top four made him feel wanted as well. But I guess coach Elston out recruited the other guys."
Elston played a pivotal role in sharing Etta his future game plan in developing him into the next great pass rusher at Michigan on "Victors Weekend" last month during Etta's official visit. According to Reed, Etta fell in love with the idea of inheriting the same role that former All-Americans like Aidan Hutchinson, David Ojabo, and Kwity Paye had before.
Jeese Minter and Dylan Roney also had great influence in the decision of Etta. This all came at a time when it wasn't certain that Michigan would be able to lock up Etta, who was feeling the love unconditionally close by from Michigan State, as the two in-state rivals battled furiously with one another these last few weeks.
The differences in the recruiting pitches from both schools were also highly publicized. With the Wolverines erecting their transformational experience and the Spartans shelling out promises of NIL, the latter would lose out in the end.
"It was very close," Reed said. "One thing that I can say about Michigan State is their ability to stay on it. I say that because of all the fans who were in Enow's DMs (laughs). It was close but I just think the academic piece really set Michigan apart in his eyes."
Part of the transformational experience that Michigan hurled forward was indeed the academics. It goes back to what was described earlier through Reed's message to his players and Etta's dedication to his accomplishments off the field. Keep in mind that Etta is expected to graduate high school with a 4.2 GPA and hopes to study engineering and computer science.
"It was truly the academic piece," Reed said. "Michigan also has a good culture for football. It's place where you can get the best of both worlds through academics and athletics. You want to go to a school where a degree carries weight. You want a universal and global degree. Michigan is one of those schools, man."
In this wild west era of football recruiting through the enacting of NIL, it's allowed schools to enter a new realm of approaches that involve financial gain and security. That might be enticing for some, but not for players like Etta, who's more serious about his educational future rather than his bank account numbers.
Michigan State can embrace the NIL game by renting luxury vehicles and all of that instant gratification. But there's some things that truly mean more, like degrees, which led to Etta siding with the Big Ten Champions.
"The NIL aspect, I think, wouldn't have been a factor in Enow's decision," Reed said. "That's any of my kids for that matter. I guess it was academics to be honest. He also really trusted what coach Elston was telling him. Michigan didn't throw a whole bunch of fluff at him and were honest in what they could offer."
Once Etta committed to Michigan, he became the highest rated pledge on the 2023 recruiting class, currently listed as the No. 42 ranked player in Texas and No. 18 EDGE rusher in the country by Rivals.com.
The addition of Etta also marked the third defensive line rising junior to join Elston alongside fellow four-star Collins Acheampong and three-star Brooks Bahr. Etta would move the Wolverines back within the top 10 in the Big Ten on the Rivals Team Recruiting Rankings for 2023.
"Michigan is getting a great player," Reed said. "They'll continue to development and stay on him while giving him the right tools to be successful."
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