Ekanem, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound defensive end from Clifton (Va.) Centreville, camped at UNC over the summer.
Although it remains a finalist, the hiring of Larry Fedora has UNC slowly losing its stance with Ekanem.
"It just gives me more uncertainty really, because I'm not familiar with their coaches," Ekanem said. "Coach [Charlie] Williams called me the most out of any other [college recruiter]. I don't know any of [UNC's new coaches] – I never knew of Fedora before he was named head coach. I need to get to know him first."
The last correspondence Ekanem received from UNC was an email from Williams the week of Fedora's hiring.
"He said it was a real honor recruiting me and good luck with the rest of my career," Ekanem said. "A couple of days later, Fedora was hired."
At best, Ekanem's knowledge of Fedora's resume is limited.
"He's a completely new name to me," Ekanem said. "My coach said he's a very good coach, but that's all I really know."
In addition to UNC, Ekanem's four finalists include Notre Dame, Oregon, and Virginia Tech.
Ekanem, who doesn't claim a leader, has official visits scheduled with Virginia Tech the weekend of Jan. 20 and Notre Dame the following weekend. His original plan was to also schedule official visits to UNC and Oregon, but that strategy is now in jeopardy.
"It's going to be really tough to do that, because I tore my ACL and I can't go on a plane until two weeks after my surgery," Ekanem said. "They're scared of blood clots because of the pressure."
Ekanem is scheduled for surgery on Dec. 29, which means he wouldn't be cleared to fly in a plane until mid-January.
The aforementioned dilemma likely wouldn't prevent Ekanem from taking an early January official visit to UNC, if he chose to, since he would drive to Chapel Hill.
"I just would have to get it setup really and get all the details," Ekanem said.
Ekanem injured his knee during the first quarter of Centerville's 47-21 loss to Chesapeake (Va.) Smith in the VHSL AA Division 6 state title game a couple of weeks back.
"The quarterback was scrambling and I was chasing him down," Ekanem explained. "I got my hands on him and I was bringing him down. I planted my foot and my knee bent inward. I just heard five cracks and a pop. I just thought, ‘This has to be something serious.'"
It's expected to take five to six months for Ekanem's knee to heal.
"I probably could make it by training camp, but I want to red-shirt and not risk anything," Ekanem said.