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  1. #11
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    Top 5: Oregon, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh & North Carolina

  2. #12
    Moderator zimmsbg78's Avatar
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    Ekanem, Special On & Off Field (free)

    Ken Ekanem was the first player Chris Haddock met when he became the Centreville High School (Clifton, Va.) head football coach two springs ago.

    “The principal had pulled him out of the hall so I could meet him right away,” Haddock said. “I’m not 6-4, 245, so when he walked through the door, I looked right up at him and I was like, ‘Wow, that’s a great looking kid.’

    “My first introduction to him was not on the field, but as soon as we started practice, it was pretty evident that the kid could play. As I got to know him a lot better, his personality and character became evident.”

    Ekanem has never missed a workout during the season or during the offseason and he doesn’t miss class or even show up late. “All of those little things, to me, tell me that he’s a solid man of character,” said Haddock.

    “He’s always very respectful and thought of highly, not just by the football coaches, but by his teachers and by the administration in our building,” the coach continued.

    Ekanem’s athletic ability earned him offers from some major college programs, including Notre Dame, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina and Oregon among others.

    The Irish offer came in May and it was clearly a big one. Ekanem was pulled out of class to learn that he was being offered a scholarship to Notre Dame and his classmates and teacher were waiting for the good news when he returned.

    “The whole class cheered and the teacher stopped class and had him call his mom,” Haddock said. “There have been some neat things, not just football-wise, but in the school, where he’s been looked up to. It’s been a pretty neat experience.

    “He’s a yes sir, no sir-kid. We always consider character as the things you do when people aren’t watching and Ken’s the type that is going to be doing the right things. He’s in the weight room when a coach isn’t there. He’s out on the track running to get himself in shape in the offseason.”

    The Centreville program uses Ekanem as an example for its younger players.

    “He’s one of the biggest kids we’ve got, but I also think that Ken has a humble personality about him,” said Haddock. “A lot of the attention that he’s had, he’s almost a little taken back by it. I think that he’s just now starting to understand that it’s because of his work and character. He’s earned that attention and respect.

    “I think he tries to carry himself that way on the field. He’s not a trash talker, when he probably could be. There are probably not many people who could challenge him in that regard, but he’s not that way. He’s definitely a lead by example type of guy. I also think that some of the guys do realize that he’s maybe a once in a generation type player. I think there are some kids who understand that.”

    The combination of Ekanem’s character along with the kind of athletic ability that has allowed him to be ranked as a four-star defensive end/linebacker prospect by most sites is uncommon, according to Haddock.

    “I think it’s extremely rare,” the coach said. “There are a lot of kids that are pretty good football players who aren’t great character guys, and there are a lot of kids that are great character kids who aren’t great football players. I think the combination is extremely rare.

    “In 19, 20 years of coaching, I could probably count on one hand the kids who have possessed all of the attributes that Ken has. One of which I coached years ago, played at Penn State and played seven, eight years in the NFL. Another kid that I consider similarly is playing football at Yale, obviously a pretty good academic institution. I would put Ken, football-wise, probably better than those two players and certainly his character fits right in with that. I would consider it very rare and I feel very lucky to coach a kid like Kenny.”

    It’s a privilege college coaches from across the country are hoping to enjoy for themselves. Ekanem has already cut a long list of scholarship offers down to five – Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Oregon, Pittsburgh and North Carolina.

    Ekanem hasn’t taken any official visits yet, but has talked about taking a trip to South Bend as early as this weekend. That won’t happen as Centreville is playing Hermitage in the state semifinal on Saturday, but he is sure he’ll get out to Notre Dame at some point.

    According to his coach, Ekanem is attracted to the Irish because they recruit nationally, which makes him feel like an elite prospect, and also because of the tradition at Notre Dame.

    “I think he looks at all of those things as positive things,” said Haddock. “I think most kids would be intrigued by the prospect of visiting Notre Dame and potentially calling that home and I think he’s like any other kid in that regard.”

    The Irish are attracted to Ekanem not only because of his athletic ability, but also that character that Haddock raves about.

    “They really think highly of him and they look at him, not just as a good football player, but as a good citizen, a man of character and I think that’s really why they want him the most,” Haddock said. “I think there’s a lot of good football players around the country, but Ken really is kind of a total-package kid. He’s a good student, good citizen, he’s a great football, great athlete and I think Notre Dame is trying to find those guys, the total-package type guys. He’s not an academic risk, he’s not at risk of doing anything to embarrass the school or himself or the program.”

    The fact that Notre Dame is looking for prospects like that only reinforces Ekanem’s interest in the Irish.

    “They’re a very, very classy program that I would love to be in,” Ekanem said.

    Ekanem values hard work, staying focused and humility. He’s conscious of how others perceive him and never wants anybody to view him as cocky.

    “I want people to think, ‘Oh, that’s Ken. He’s good in football, but you would never know. He would never boast about it,’” Ekanem said.

    Ekanem’s father returned to Nigeria, where he owns several businesses, more than six years ago and Ken has not only adjusted to the absence, but learned from it.

    “That’s one of the things I pride myself on,” he said. “I would say I have a good work ethic. That comes from my dad, my dad’s a workaholic. My work ethic in the weight room and the classroom is pretty good.”

    Haddock sometimes has to remind Ekanem that he is special and it’s ok to evaluate the way college programs treat him.

    “He’s one of the top players in the country and I’ve tried to explain that to him a little bit and as much as he doesn’t want to portray that, he wants to be treated well,” Haddock said. “He wants to be treated like he’s a priority. I think he wants to go to a school that has a good academic record and has not been in trouble with the NCAA.

    “Long term, I think he would like to go to a school that can help him get to the NFL. Obviously, there’s a lot to be done between now and then, but certainly that’s one of his lifelong goals and with more growth and more coaching and more maturation, I think he could have a shot.”

    Either way, Ekanem has already been a joy for Haddock.

    “Getting to know him has been a privilege. He’s a great kid.”

  3. #13
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    Official visit Dec 16

  4. #14
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    Did he just describe ND??
    Last edited by zimmsbg78; 12-01-2011 at 08:48 AM.

  5. #15
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    I bet he commits at, or shortly after his OV and will be our OLB as opposed to Odenigbo...and I would be fine with that.

  6. #16
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    Coaches Visiting tomorrow

  7. #17
    Moderator marv81s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by morrdave9 View Post
    I bet he commits at, or shortly after his OV and will be our OLB as opposed to Odenigbo...and I would be fine with that.
    virginia tech has been on him for a long time and they have been all over him like white on rice. i would be surprised if he verbals that quick
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  8. #18
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    Ekanem Mature Beyond His Years

    Ken Ekanem has been blessed with athletic ability. He’s been blessed with a maturity beyond his years, but it’s the combination of the two that for which his mother is most grateful.

    “Some people are just blessed,” Mary Ekanem says. “They’re good at something and they know they’re good at it. He knows what he wants to do. There are other people who search for their whole life what they want to do. He just knows what he wants to do and he wants it that bad that he knows what he has to do.”

    For Ken, a 2012 linebacker from Centreville High School in Clifton, Va., he wants to play football, but he had to wait a bit longer than most to do so.

    A quiet and reserved child, Ken was always polite.

    “He’s always been, ‘Thank you, please,’” his mother says. “I never even had to say that to him, he just did it. It always struck me. He was always kind of quiet, observing and he was just more mature.

    “He’s just a real gentle soul. He’s kind of a big teddy bear. He’s got a concern for people.”

    So it was a bit of surprise when Ken told his mother football was the sport he wanted to play.

    “He was always a big kid and he wanted to play at a younger age, but he couldn’t play because he was too big because they go by weight,” says Mary, who looked at the weight chart once and realized that as a fifth-grader, Ken would have had to play with high-schoolers.

    “I felt bad for him because he couldn’t play, but he always played soccer and basketball and was very good. He liked it, but he always said he wanted to play football.”

    In eighth grade, Ken finally got his chance when he joined a league for larger kids in Northern Virginia.

    “It was kind of funny because that was the only way he could play and that was his first year playing,” his mother says. “He got into it and took it very seriously.”

    Very seriously.

    Before high school, Mary asked her son what he thought he’d like to do in the future.

    “He said, ‘I want to play ball,’” Mary recalls. “I said, ‘OK, but what do you want to do later?’ He goes, ‘I want to play ball. This is what I want to do. I want to play football.’”

    Mary was surprised at first, but when she saw how dedicated her son was, she realized his desire was genuine.

    “He’s always trying to think of how to better himself,” she says. “He does it all for himself and that’s what’s really nice.

    “I don’t have to tell him to get up. I don’t have to tell him to go to practice. I don’t have to ask him to do anything. He is very good about getting up and going.”

    As a freshman at Centreville, Ken played junior varsity before getting pulled up to varsity to fill in for an injured starter. Mary thought her son would go back down when the older player returned, but that never happened.

    “They never removed him,” she says. “They figured they would make room for him somewhere. By sophomore year, I could see something was going to happen.”

    Neither wanted to get ahead of themselves, but when Boston College offered Ken a scholarship before the start of his junior season, they knew he would have the opportunity to follow his dream.

    “You don’t want to start talking before things actually happened, but as it kept happening and schools kept offering, I was like, ‘Oh my god,’” Mary remembers. “I’m just so proud of him and I’m so happy for him.”

    He soon decided what would be important to him during the recruiting process.

    “Ken’s big thing is he really has to connect with the coach,” says Mary. “Ken really looks at that and tries to build up a rapport with the coach and get to know them. He likes certain coaches a lot.”

    Ken eliminated one school because he didn’t feel that connection.

    “He looks at the coaches and he wants to be around the players and see what they’re like,” his mother says. “He looks at the roster. We look at what the school is like of course, but all of the schools that have offered have been very good schools. For me, I feel no matter where Ken goes, he’ll be OK. Afterward, if he goes to the NFL or if he works, Ken is going to be fine. All of these schools are great schools and he should be proud to go any of them.”

    Mary would like to keep the youngest of her three children close to home, but getting to the NFL is the ultimate dream.

    “I’d like to have him stay here, but I want him to go where he is going to play because that’s what he wants to do and a place that will get him to the NFL if possible,” she says. “That’s what I want because that’s what he wants. If he was to tell me that this is going to be the best school for me because it’s going to give me the best opportunity to make it there then I would say, ‘That’s the school you’re going to then.’

    “But if he came to me and said, ‘I just want to play in college,’ I would say, ‘Just pick one that’s around here.’ But he wants to go on to the NFL. I know the percentage is very small that make it there, but that’s what he wants and he’s very focused, so I want him to go to a school that’s going to give him that opportunity.”

    Ken has narrowed his list of schools he believes will give him that opportunity to four – Notre Dame, Oregon, Virginia Tech and North Carolina, although the Tar Heels’ problems with the NCAA are still a bit of a concern.

    Ken's personality has never changed.

    “He’s just very mellow and very humble, which I love about him,” Mary says. “None of this has gotten to his head.”

    He’s been low key for much of the recruiting process, even springing in-home visits with college coaches on his mom at the last minute. Mary wanted him to call Notre Dame at one point to ask a question, but Ken told her they could just ask when Charley Molnar came to visit. She asked when and was surprised by when Ken said, “‘He’s coming here tomorrow after practice.’”

    Molnar and Ken formed a good relationship, but Molnar’s departure for UMass won’t be a major factor because he wouldn’t have been Ken’s position coach in South Bend anyway. Molnar met with Ken and his mother just days before taking the UMass job.

    “He was very nice,” Mary said of Molnar. “He spoke so highly of Notre Dame and he talked to us for an hour and we had dinner with him. He was very kind and told us a lot about the school and the football team.”

    Last week, Ekanem sat down with his potential position coach at Notre Dame, defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Bob Diaco. During the meeting, it was decided that it’d be best for Ken to postpone an official visit to South Bend until January so he’d be in better physical condition after tearing his ACL in his final high school game earlier this month.

    Still, the Irish are very high on Ken’s list and have been since the beginning.

    “He was very impressed with Notre Dame just from the history and everything,” his mother says. “He said it would be an honor just to go there because the history alone at that school is unbelievable. He was so excited when they came. He said his whole class just jumped up and down. They made this big announcement and they couldn’t believe it. He’s always liked watching their games on TV.”

    Looking back, Mary has trouble believing all that’s happened since her son finally started playing football.

    “I’m just so proud of him and I’m so happy for him,” she says. “If I were to go back five years, I wouldn’t have imagined where he would ever go.

    “Some people want to have something so much, but they can’t get there because they just aren’t good enough. I think it’s really fortunate when somebody is good at doing something and they want to do what they’re good at. I think that’s where Ken is really blessed. He’s really good and he knows that’s what he’s good at.”
    All winning teams are goal-oriented. Teams like these win consistently because everyone connected with them concentrates on specific objectives. They go about their business with blinders on; nothing will distract themfrom achieving their aims.

    - Lou Holtz, former Notre Dame football coach

  9. #19
    Moderator zimmsbg78's Avatar
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    Senior year highlights................

    Ken Ekanem - Highlight Videos, Schedule & Roster - Hudl

  10. #20
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    No Surprise the Final Two

    Centreville All-Met DE-LB Ken Ekanem narrows choice to Virginia Tech, Notre Dame - Recruiting Insider - The Washington Post

    Centreville two-time All-Met defensive end-linebacker Ken Ekanem has narrowed his list of schools as National Signing Day approaches.

    The senior, who led the Wildcats to an appearance in the Virginia AAA Division 6 championship, cut his list down to four this fall: Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Oregon and UNC. Ekanem has scheduled visits to Virginia Tech on Jan. 20 and Notre Dame on Jan. 27 and will not be visiting any other schools, according to Centreville Coach Chris Haddock.

    “Oregon is off the map,” Haddock said. “It looks like it’s between Tech and Notre Dame.”

    Ekanem had 72 tackles,18 sacks and 32 quarterback pressures for the Wildcats, including a 4.5 sack performance in the state semifinals against Hermitage. He also caught eight touchdown passes.

    In the state championship, however, Ekanem tore his ACL and meniscus while pulling down the Oscar Smith quarterback six minutes into the game. Ekanem underwent surgery in late December.

    Virginia Tech has been making a strong push to sign the 6-foot-3, 245-pound Ekanem. Coaches came up to visit with Ekanem the Monday after the state championship, and defensive coordinator Bud Foster and possibly head coach Frank Beamer are expected to visit with Ekanem this week in advance of his visit to Blacksburg.

    Meanwhile, the coach who most closely recruited Ekanem at Notre Dame, Charlie Molnar, left the school after accepting the head coaching position at Massachusetts in early December.

    Ekanem will announce his decision on National Signing Day during a morning ceremony at Centreville
    .

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