Change Of Plans

Ezekiel Ansah went to BYU hoping to play basketball. It's a good thing he got cut... twice. He only tried out for the football team because he "wanted something to do."

Indianapolis, Ind. - It's been quite a journey for Ezekiel Ansah from BYU. This 6-foot-5 and 271-pounder is from Ghana, Africa. He grew up playing soccer and found his way to the Cougars in 2008. Ansah was a fan of then Cleveland Cavalier star LeBron James so he tried out for the BYU basketball team only to be cut for two consecutive years. In the meantime, Ansah walked on the Cougar track team and ran the 100 and 200 meters.

It wasn't until 2010 when he finally went out for football.

"I always loved basketball," Ansah said. "I tried out but it didn't work out. I knew I was a really good athlete and wanted to do something [athletically]. I didn't want to sit around."

While disappointed he never made the hoops team in Provo, Ansah has to be elated with how quickly his fortunes turned with the game of football. It's a rags to riches story so to be speak. Ansah quickly adjusted to the game and now finds himself as a potential first round pick in April's NFL Draft. Many are comparing him to Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Giants.

"It's a fair comparison," Ansah said. "I do watch him and study him."

Like Pierre-Paul at the same stage Ansah hasn't even scratched the surface of how good he can become.

"I am not sure about the draft and that will depend on the coaches and GMs," Ansah said. "I know I am raw but I am getting good at what I am doing. I just know that this has been a humbling experience and a blessing. I do like the challenge of football."

Ansah has slowly improved in only three seasons on the gridiron. His first season he appeared in six games and mainly played on special teams, recording three tackles and a pass breakup. His junior year Ahsah played in all 12 games and had seven tackles and a quarterback hurry. This past year was a breakout season. Ansah registered 62 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks. That's a quick rise.

"I am dedicating everything to be the best player," Ansah said. "I know I have a little experience but I am ready for the challenge."

Ansah participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. last month. That was yet another learning experience.

"I didn't do much during the week," Ansah said. "I was making some mistakes and learning everything I could on the practice field."

Now he finds himself at the NFL Combine and he will soon make his way onto one NFL roster. My how things have changed for Ansah.

"I guess if I would have made the [BYU] basketball team I would never have played football."

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