Incoming Jayhawk, Clinton Anokwuru, Holds Community-First Focus

LAWRENCE, Kan. – For many around the World, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused great uncertainty for what’s to come. Incoming University of Kansas freshman Clinton Anokwuru and his family are taking the opportunity to give back to their community and provide for those who need it the most.

Anokwuru and his family hail from Imo State, Nigeria, located in the southeast region of the country. While Anokwuru was born in the United States, he frequently returns home to Nigeria to visit family, and is familiar with the difficulties his community faces.

From 1967-70, Nigeria was ravaged by a civil war, known as the Biafran War between the government of Nigeria and the state of Biafra. Although before his time, Anokwuru knows the hard times that his family went through, and how others donated materials to help out his community.

Now facing a global pandemic, Anokwuru and his family, who are now living in Houston, Texas, donated a sum of money to his community for provisions. Family in Nigeria then gathered the resources and distributed materials like yams, spaghetti, beans, rice, medications and more to the community.

“Just being in this time, my family has been in a similar situation before I was born,” Anokwuru said. “That’s kind of where the idea came from. Just knowing that people back in my village probably won’t be able to have something to eat tonight, that is what sparked everything.”

Anokwuru spread his family’s message on social media last week, with three photos of the donations. Their message: focus on community and together we can beat this pandemic.

Connection to KU

In February, Anokwuru signed his National Letter of Intent (NLI) to further his academic and athletic career at KU. At Fort Bend Bush high school, Anokwuru racked up 43 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, four fumble recoveries and three sacks his senior year, helping him live out his goal of playing at a Division I level.

As a talented pass-rusher out of Fort Bend Bush High School in Richmond, Texas, Anokwuru drew attention from a number of Division I programs, including Texas Tech, Virginia Tech, Washington State, Southern Methodist and Navy, among others, though his interactions with KU checked all of his boxes.

“Somebody who’s from a similar background that I am, and is also Ibo and we can connect on a different level,” Anokwuru said of his relationship with KU’s outside linebacker coach Chidera Uzo-Diribe. “That made my parents comfortable, leaving me in the hands of someone who is kind of where we are from.”

Anokwuru and Uzo-Diribe both share the same tribe in Nigeria, the Igbo tribe. When Anokwuru and Uzo-Diribe connected in the recruitment process, Anokwuru knew it was a good fit.

“When I came on my visit, I sat with Coach Miles, and some of the staff and I was just blown away with what they were doing in their academics,” Anokwuru said. “The town was beautiful, the housing was perfect, the people were really nice, it really just checked all of my boxes.”

Anokwuru is set to join the Jayhawks in the fall and looks forward to continuing to make an impact on and off the field.