Clifton (VA) Centreville defensive end Ken Ekanem didn't make it to many spring practices, instead spending a lot of time working out with his personal trainer. The interest has found Ekanem, as anywhere from four to six coaches have come by his school on any given week, including two new offers.
"Yeah, it's been pretty steady," Ekanem said of the interest. "I probably get like four to six coaches a week. It also seems they all come on the same day."
It's led Ekanem to one interesting observation when these assistant coaches convene at his high school.
"They come in on the same day, and it's funny because they all know each other," Ekanem said.
Illnois and Oregon are the two most recent offers for the talented defensive end. Pitt is also one of his offers. Tight ends coach Tony Dews has recruited him, and so far, he's built a solid relationship with him.
"Tony Dews, the tight ends coach, has some family from Centreville," Ekanem said. "He's stopped by. He's a cool guy. I've talked to him on the phone. I like him a lot."
Ekanem has also gotten a pretty good impression of the Panthers, in terms of where they'd like to play him in the future. Pitt has incorporated a standing defensive end in their 3-4 alignment, simply called the Panther position. It's a hybrid defensive end/linebacker position, or in general a pass rush specialist. Ekanem appears to be one of their targets for the position out of the 2012 recruiting class.
"They told me what they're going to do with me," Ekanem said. "In their 3-4 defense, I'd be the hybrid defensive end/linebacker; the Panther. I'd be perfect for that position."
Ekanem is also a big fan of the 3-4 scheme.
"Yeah, I think my best fit would be the 3-4 as an outside linebacker," Ekanem added.
Pitt does appear to be a school that Ekanem would like to keep in the mix. He rattled off a few facts about the school that he's learned from his conversations with Dews. It at least gives an idea of what the new coaching staff is trying to sell as they work towards their first full class.
"They produce good players, good defensive ends," Ekanem said. "Coach Dews wasn't there before, but those two who went in the draft (Jabaal Sheard, Greg Romeus) were pretty good. They had guys who made first-team and second-team all-conference. That's pretty impressive. Darrelle Revis went there. They produce a lot of players."
Ekanem is looking to start taking visits in July, but he doesn't have a list of schools narrowed down yet. As a junior, he racked up 75 tackles, 17 sacks and three forced fumbles on defense. He also caught four touchdown passes on offense at tight end. He went on to earn all-district and all-region honors at tight end and defensive end. Ekanem was also selected as District Defensive Player of the Year.