BLAINE, Minn. (WCCO) – Nine of Minnesota’s top 11 football recruits signed scholarships to play at the University of Minnesota in the fall as part of Wednesday’s National Signing Day.

One area athlete that will be interesting to watch comes from Blaine. Duke Anyanwu’s journey involved a twist of fate that brought him to the Twin Cities.

The first thing you try to figure out is how to pronounce his last name.

“It’s An-aa-ya-wooh, the second ‘N’ is silent,” he said.

We will just call him Duke, because after all, he made his name on the football field for Blaine in the fall. It’s a long way from where he started.

In 2005 while living in California, he lost someone that led to a move.

“My father passed away when I was about 8 or so, so then my mom and I had to move closer to family. My mom’s brother lives here,” Anyanwu said.

He played quarterback for the Bengals last fall after playing wide receiver for Blaine as a junior. It’s his versatility that makes him an impressive athlete, and it gives Gophers coach Jerry Kill plenty of options with how they plan to use him.

“Right now they have me slated as an H-back, outside linebacker and D-end. I’m young for my grade so we’ll see what my body does in the next half a year to a year or so,” Anyanwu said.

His goal is simple: He just wants to be a part of turning a program around at the University of Minnesota.

“It was huge for me because I want to be part of a program that turns things around,” he said. “I always say to myself that I want to find a program where I can leave it better than I found it.”

Here’s a complete list of Wednesday’s Gopher football signees.

Mike Max