Ezekial Ansah  DE       Brigham Young  With only three years of American football experience, this player is extremely impressive and possesses off-the-charts upside. He is still raw, but desire, passion and athletic ability, along with production, jumps off the tape. Chase-and-pursuit mindset, with diving effort, is not taught – it comes from within. Very good athlete with size and length; plays the game with power, leverage and explosiveness. Good inside stunts from 2/3-point stance, with production. An explosive tackler with wrap; will leave feet with second effort to make diving tackles in tight or open space, finishing strongly. Has natural read reaction quickness to key and diagnose on the move; plays the game with urgency and very good temperament. Motor runs fast in chase and pursuit, with collision finish. Raw in hand combat; will need technique, but is very disruptive to fight through double team with punch and double armbar separation. Natural pass rush skills with explosive initial quickness to attack upfield shoulder; can flip and clear hips with burst to quarterback drop zone. Has very good body balance and control for big man; movement is that of a linebacker and hunts the same way. A former track standout (200m sprinter) with limited football experience to this point. His FBI (football instincts) still demonstrate rawness and spottiness. I question his overall ability as a 4-3 OLB because of his trouble with awareness of receivers in space; projects as a possible 3-4 ROLB (rush) as a result. “Ziggy” will get overdrafted because of athletic ability and upside. Limited time at the position means a flashing yellow for me. Softli – First-round athlete, bottom first/top second-round pick.

 

EZEKIAL NANA “Ziggy” ANSAH

Defensive End

Brigham Young University Cougars

#47

6:05.2-271

Accra, Ghana

Presbyterian Boys School

 

OVERVIEW

The long road from Ghana to possibly a starring role in the National Football League was the furthest thing on the mind of Ansah entering the 2012 season. Introduced to the game in 2010 after twice failing to make the Brigham Young basketball team, he ventured to the Cougars track team before he walked into the school’s football office. He spent his first two seasons on the gridiron as a seldom used reserve, making ten tackles in eighteen appearances.

 

The 2012 season appeared to be just like his previous two seasons – grasping at straws in hopes of earning some decent playing time. After playing in reserve for the first four games, opportunity knocked, but unfortunately, it was at the expense of a teammate.

During Week Four practices, nose guard Eathyn Manumaleuna hurt his knee and Ansah took his place in the starting lineup, as the coaches shifted around a few players and inserted him at right defensive end.

 

Over the final nine games of the season, Ansah was third on the team in tackles (48), second in sacks (4.5) and first in tackles for loss (13). Brigham Young would go on to lead the nation in red zone defense (opponent red zone percentage of .62), was second in rushing defense (84.25 yards/game), third in third-down conversion percentage (27.71%) and total defense (allowing 26.33 yards/game).

 

With Ansah leading the way, the Cougars also ranked fourth in first-down defense (14.83/game), and fifth in scoring defense (176 total points). Additionally, the were in the top 25 in passing defense (13th), sacks (22nd), fourth-down conversion defense (23rd), and tackles for loss (25th).

 

Throughout the 2012 season, Ansah “stood tall,” both figuratively and literally. The coaches were finally able to unleash a 6:06, 270-plus pound athlete who boasted a sub 22-second 200 meter dash. In a word, he was their “beast.” In two words, he is a freak athlete.

 

A native of Accra, Ghana in Africa, Ansah walked on to the Brigham Young football team in 2010 and wowed players and coaches with his athleticism and impressed them with his drive and work ethic. The only problem was that he had never played a down of American football. In fact, he didn’t even know how to put on his pads when he showed up for the first day of drills.

 

Ansah was an accomplished soccer and basketball athlete but had never stepped onto the gridiron. After joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ghana, Ansah came to Brigham Young on an academic scholarship in 2008 and made two unsuccessful attempts to walk on to Dave Rose’s basketball team.

 

The following year Ansah joined the track team and ran a 10.91 in the 100-meter dash in addition to clocking a time of 21.89 seconds in the 200 meters. He then decided to turn his attention to football.

 

“Ezekiel wandered through our office one day,” Bronco Mendenhall explained to the media back in 2010. “I think our players kind of directed him, seeing he’s 6-foot-whatever. He runs a 21.9 200-meters, but we had to help him put his stuff on. He’d never put gear on before”

 

“He’s a work in progress but he wanted to give it a try. He showed up this summer and the players loved him, and he wouldn’t go away. He kind of grew on (his teammates) and they came to me and said ‘make sure you bring him in the 105.’ He doesn’t know anything, but when he decides to run fast, he runs fast, and he’s big.”

 

In the two years after first suiting up for the gridiron squad, Ziggy, as he is known to friends, teammates and fans, had been learning the game and slowly gained the confidence of Mendenhall. The big question was if he had progressed enough to give Mendenhall enough confidence in him to give him more opportunity and responsibility.

 

In his first season, Ansah played defensive end and saw action in just six games, finishing with three tackles and a pass deflection. The then-sophomore conceded to being worried of how much contact occurred in a football game and noted he always considered his body “a delicate flower.” In 2011, he was moved to line-backer and played in twelve games, recording seven tackles and a quarterback pressure.

 

From the beginning Ziggy was fast, but he was also relatively easy to knock off balance and was not particularly good at using his hands or getting off blocks. But, now as a senior, Anzah had a much better grasp of how to play the game and was poised to make a significant impact in the fall.

 

During 2012 spring camp in March, he was cross-trained to play both defensive end and linebacker. He possesses the kind of freakish, raw talent that caught the attention of NFL teams looking for that coveted outside pass rusher. If he were to find his way into the NFL, it would be an ironic development for a guy who dreamed of playing professional basket-ball in the NBA, the player thought.

 

But in order to get a shot at the pros, Ansah needed to see more time on the field in his final year. Mendenhall and his coaches knew they had a player with a rare level of athleticism on their hands, the only question was how to best utilize his God-given abilities. They talked openly that the sky is the limit for Ziggy and that he has definite NFL-level athleticism.

 

That opportunity came on September 20th, when Ansah was inserted into the lineup vs. Boise State. He went on to record eight tackles with a sack and 2.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage while utilized as a defensive end lined up on the weak-side in front of outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy on passing downs.

 

Not even the coaching staff could imagine the threat of having both of those players coming off the edge would accomplish the rest of the season. Both would combine for17.5 sacks, as 42 of their 115 tackles came behind the line of scrimmage for losses of 157 yards.

 

The Cougars tandem had fourteen quarterback pressures, intercepted three passes and deflected fourteen others, along with blocking two kicks. Those hits in the backfield saw opposing ball carriers and quarterbacks cough up the ball seven times, with Brigham Young converting six of those turnovers into scoring drives.

 

With Ansah’s ability to play in space, the Cougars capitalized on their option of dropping him into coverage while bringing just Van Noy on a blitz.  It would turn out to be the kind of combination that caused a great deal of confusion and disruption for offenses, and Ansah’s speed and length caused havoc in the throwing lanes for opposing passers.

 

To further help the two develop chemistry, Ansah was assigned to room with Van Noy during the 2012 season. The two have maintained a close relationship both on- and off-the-field. Ansah reported in a Sports Illustrated interview that, “Kyle is like a brother to me.”

 

Living in Accra, Ghana, Ansah is the youngest of five children. His father, Edward, was a sales manager for a petroleum company, and his mother, Elizabeth, was a nurse. He grew up playing soccer and had never seen American Football as a youth. In addition to soccer, he was also an enthusiastic basketball fan and regularly played pickup basketball games at his local school. That is where he met missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and later joined the Mormon Church.

 

The Mormon missionary who taught and baptized Ansah kept in touch with him after returning to the United States and later suggested that if he was serious about basketball, he should come to Brigham Young University and try out for the basketball team. He applied to and was accepted at BYU and awarded an academic scholarship in 2008.

 

Ansah tried out for the basketball team twice, but was cut from both the 2008 and 2009 teams. After facing rejection in basketball, he did successfully walk on to the BYU track team, where he ran a 10.91 in the 100-meter dash in addition to clocking a time of 21.89 seconds in the 200 meters.

 

Finally, Ansah was persuaded to try out for the football team, and he began playing football for the Cougars in 2010. He further improved his draft stock with his “outstanding defensive player” outing in the 2013 Senior bowl, where he recorded seven tackles (six solo), 1.5 sacks (for 13 yards), 3.5 tackles for loss (for 24 yards), a pass break-up, and a forced fumble.

 

At the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine, Ansah again impressed coaches and scouts in attendance. He weighed in at 271 pounds and recorded a 4.63-second 40-yard time, produced 21 reps on the 225-pound bench press drill, generated a 34.5-inch vertical jump, a 118-inch broad jump, ran 7.11 seconds in the three cone drill, and 4.26 seconds in the 20 yard shuffle.

 

Ansah has a trim midsection, and looks the part that teams want from a rush end/strong-side linebacker. He also displays minimal body fat, along with a well-defined abdomen, tight waist and hips. He is a strong, powerful defender with excellent explosion and quickness to get to the football.

 

The Cougar has exceptional sustained speed, making him a perfect candidate to rush off the edge or drop back and defend in short-to-intermediate pass coverage. He shows above average flexibility and balance, along with superb body control and long arms that allow him to play off reach blocks to slip past opponents.

 

Ansah changes direction with no wasted motion and has the lower body flexibility, hip snap and knee bend to work down the line or stand up and cover tight ends and slot receivers underneath. For a player of his size, he displays excellent strength and a hand punch that can rock an offensive tackle back on his heels.

 

The senior is a very good chase/pursuit type with nice change of direction agility and outstanding speed to make plays in long pursuit. He has the lateral range to slide and avoid when working in-line, but when his hands gets outside his frame, there will be times that he will struggle to shed. He has quick feet to play off blocks and fights back quickly when knocked down.

 

Ansah can get a side and keep it, using his lower body to hold at the point of attack. He is functionally strong and plays with leverage at the point of attack. His sudden quickness off the snap allows him to disrupt the action in the backfield. He has cat-like quickness to simply run past the slower offensive tackles at the line of scrimmage.

 

Ansah also displays the body flexibility and knee bend to keep balance when suddenly having to turn. He is especially effective when redirecting and dipping back under. His long arms and strong hands allow him to free up on twists and games, but is best when making plays on the move rather than taking on one-on-one battles from a stationary position.

 

CAREER NOTES

Ansah started the final nine games, appearing in 31 contests at Brigham Young, where he registered 72 tackles (39 solos) with 4.5 sacks for minus 20 yards, thirteen stops for losses of 37 yards and seven quarterback pressures…Also deflected ten passes, intercepted another and caused one fumble.

 

2012 SEASON

An All-American Super Sleeper selection by The NFL Draft Report, Ansah also received All-American honorable mention from Pro Football Weekly and was an All-Independent first-team choice by Phil Steele…After playing in reserve at right defensive end for the first four games, he took right end duties for the last nine contests, responding with 62 tackles (35 solos), fourth-best on the team…Ranked tied for second on the squad with 4.5 sacks for minus 20 yards and placed third with thirteen stops for losses totaling 37 yards…Had six quarterback pressures, as he caused a fumble, intercepted a pass and deflected nine others…Burst onto the scene vs. Boise State, snuffing out a fake punt and posted eight tackles, 2.5 stops-for-loss, one sack and one pass break-up…Produced three tackles for losses totaling eight yards vs. Utah State, including two sacks while coming up with five stops in a 6-3 victory…Recorded a 6-yard sack vs. Georgia Tech to go along with eight tackles (5 solos)…Assisted on a sack while making two stops-for-loss and four tackles vs. New Mexico State…Finished the Poinsettia Bowl clash vs. San Diego State with five solo tackles, a forced fumble, a pass deflection and an interception.

 

2011 SEASON

Ansah appeared in twelve games on special teams and as a reserve outside linebacker… Totaled seven tackles, including three solo, on the season…Also had a quarterback hurry…Posted a season-best two tackles vs. Idaho and had one stop with a pressure in the Utah State clash.

 

2010 SEASON

Ansah saw action in the Cougars final six games on special teams and the defensive line, as he recorded three tackles and a pass deflection…Produced his first career tackle vs. Wyoming, then had another stop in each of the New Mexico and Utah clashes…Broke up a pass vs. Nevada-Las Vegas.

 

2009 SEASON

Ansah competed for the Brigham Young track team…Ran personal bests of 10.91 in the 100-meter dash in addition to clocking a time of 21.89 seconds in the 200 meters.

 

INJURY REPORT

No major injuries reported.

 

AGILITY TESTS

4.63 in the 40-yard dash…1.56 10-yard dash…2.62 20-yard dash…4.26 20-yard shuttle…

7.11 three-cone drill…34 ½-inch vertical jump…9’8” broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 21 times…34 5/8-inch arm length…10-inch hands…82 ¼-inch wingspan.

 

HIGH SCHOOL

Ansah attended Presbyterian Boys’ Secondary School in Ghana…Named the overall best business student, he also played soccer and basketball in his native country.

 

PERSONAL

Actuarial Science major, with a minor in Mathematics…Nicknamed “Ziggy”…Youngest of five children…Father, Edward, was a sales manager for a petroleum company, and his mother, Elizabeth, was a nurse…Active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS/Mormon Church)…Speaks Twi and Fante, two local Ghanaian dialects…

Born 5/29/89 in Accra, Ghana.

 

PLAYER STATISTICS

DEFENSIVE STATISTICS
STATS GP GS TK SO AS FR FC INT TFL PBU SACK PRES
2010 06 00  03  01  02  00  00  00  00.0-00   01  0.0-00    00
2011 12 00  07  03  04  00  00  00  00.0-00   00  0.0-00    01
2012 13 09  62  35  27  00  01  01  13.0-37   09  4.5-20    06
TOTAL 31 09  72  39  33  00  01  01  13.0-37   10  4.5-20    07

 

ANSAH GAME BY GAME LOG

2012 Season

Date

Opponent

Score

Played

Int. Ret.

Tackles

Sacks

PBU

FC

Pres

No

Yds

TD

Ast

Solo

Asst
Loss

Solo
Loss

Loss
Yds

Ast

Solo

Yards

Washington St. 08/30/12 Washington St. 30-6

Yes

0

0

0

0

3

0

2

6

0

0

0

1

0

0

Weber St. 09/08/12 Weber St. 45-13

Yes

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Utah 09/15/12 at Utah 21-24

Yes

0

0

0

4

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Boise St. 09/20/12 at Boise St. 6-7

Yes

0

0

0

2

6

1

2

6

0

1

5

1

0

0

Hawaii 09/28/12 Hawaii 47-0

Yes

0

0

0

2

3

1

0

1

0

0

0

1

0

1

Utah St. 10/05/12 Utah St. 6-3

Yes

0

0

0

1

4

0

3

8

0

2

4

0

0

2

Oregon St. 10/13/12 Oregon St. 24-42

Yes

0

0

0

2

1

1

0

1

0

0

0

1

0

2

Notre Dame 10/20/12 at Notre Dame 14-17

Yes

0

0

0

4

2

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

Georgia Tech 10/27/12 at Georgia Tech 41-17

Yes

0

0

0

3

5

0

1

6

0

1

6

0

0

0

Idaho 11/10/12 Idaho 52-13

Yes

0

0

0

0

3

0

1

2

0

0

0

2

0

1

San Jose St. 11/17/12 at San Jose St. 14-20

Yes

0

0

0

3

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

New Mexico St. 11/24/12 at New Mexico St. 50-14

Yes

0

0

0

4

0

2

0

6

1

0

5

1

0

0

San Diego St. 12/20/12 San Diego St. 23-6

Yes

1

-2

0

0

5

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

Season Totals

1

-2

0

27

35

6

10

37

1

4

20

9

1

6

 

 

2011 Season.

Date

Opponent

Score

Played

Tackles

Sacks

PBU

FC

Pres

Ast

Solo

Asst
Loss

Solo
Loss

Loss
Yds

Ast

Solo

Yards

Ole Miss 09/03/11 at Ole Miss 14-13

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Texas 09/10/11 at Texas 16-17

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Utah 09/17/11 Utah 10-54

Yes

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

UCF 09/23/11 UCF 24-17

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Utah St. 09/30/11 Utah St. 27-24

Yes

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

San Jose St. 10/08/11 San Jose St. 29-16

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Oregon St. 10/15/11 at Oregon St. 38-28

Yes

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Idaho St. 10/22/11 Idaho St. 56-3

No

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

TCU 10/28/11 TCU 28-38

Yes

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Idaho 11/12/11 Idaho 42-7

Yes

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

New Mexico St. 11/19/11 New Mexico St. 42-7

Yes

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Hawaii 12/03/11 at Hawaii 41-20

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Tulsa 12/30/11 Tulsa 24-21

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Season Totals

4

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

 

2010 Season

Date

Opponent

Score

Played

Tackles

Sacks

PBU

FC

Pres

Ast

Solo

Asst
Loss

Solo
Loss

Loss
Yds

Ast

Solo

Yards

Washington 09/04/10 Washington 23-17

No

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Air Force 09/11/10 at Air Force 14-35

No

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Florida St. 09/18/10 at Florida St. 10-34

No

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Nevada 09/25/10 Nevada 13-27

No

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Utah St. 10/01/10 at Utah St. 16-31

No

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

San Diego St. 10/09/10 San Diego St. 24-21

No

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

TCU 10/16/10 at TCU 3-31

No

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Wyoming 10/23/10 Wyoming 25-20

Yes

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

UNLV 11/06/10 UNLV 55-7

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

Colorado St. 11/13/10 at Colorado St. 49-10

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

New Mexico 11/20/10 New Mexico 40-7

Yes

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Utah 11/27/10 at Utah 16-17

Yes

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

UTEP 12/18/10 UTEP 52-24

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Season Totals

2

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

 

Data provided by Dave-Te Thomas, Publisher of the NFL Draft Reports for TonySoftli.com & Tony Softli Draft Board; Distributed by Scouting Services, Inc. © Copyright 2012/13 – All Rights Reserved; Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Scouting Services Inc. is strictly prohibited.