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  1. #21

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    Visit to ND is reportedly off which would seem to indicate the de facto choice here is Va. Tech.

  2. #22
    Senior Member mcbri014's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irishunclebill View Post
    Visit to ND is reportedly off which would seem to indicate the de facto choice here is Va. Tech.
    Golic Jr. has to be stoked because it's looking more and more likely that he will be back.

  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by mcbri014 View Post
    Golic Jr. has to be stoked because it's looking more and more likely that he will be back.
    It's a done deal according to some people.

  4. #24

  5. #25
    Moderator IrishDodger's Avatar
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    Virginia Tech's Ken Ekanem looks forward to seeing Notre Dame, showing Irish what they missed
    By Andy Bitter andy.bitter@roanoke.com 381-1676 | Posted 4 hours ago

    BLACKSBURG — With his knee in tatters, what would turn out to be a torn ACL and meniscus, Ken Ekanem went forward with the final stages of his recruiting process like normal.

    It was late 2011 when the Centre-ville High senior’s football world got turned upside down. Ekanem, a star defensive end, led the Wildcats to the Division 6 state title game at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, only to go down with a knee injury in the first quarter of a loss to Oscar Smith.

    An MRI revealed the severity of the injury a few weeks later, but in that time, he still made plans for his January recruiting visits. The four-star defensive end/linebacker, considered one of the top prospects in the state, set up a trip to Virginia Tech on the weekend of Jan. 21 and Notre Dame the following week.

    That second trip never came about.

    “Notre Dame came two weeks later to my school and told me I shouldn’t come visit, and they wouldn’t accept my commitment due to the uncertainty in my knee,” Ekanem said.

    He was surprised, though the Notre Dame representative assured him it wasn’t out of the ordinary.

    “They said most schools would do that,” Ekanem said. “And I was like, ‘Tech didn’t.’ ”

    In fact, after Ekanem suffered his injury, before he’d even gotten the results of the MRI, both Hokies defensive coordinator Bud Foster and defensive line coach Charley Wiles paid him an in-home visit. Their message was simple and reassuring: They still wanted him.

    “Tech wanted me as a student as well as an athlete,” Ekanem said. “[Notre Dame] just kind of wanted the athlete part of me. A full functioning athlete.”

    Now, nearly five years later and as he winds down a successful career at Virginia Tech in which he’s been a mainstay on the line, Ekanem doesn’t hold any animosity toward Notre Dame, though he remembered his reaction to finding out the Irish were coming on the schedule as, “Hell, yeah!”

    He, as much as anyone on the team, is interested in finally getting to visit South Bend this weekend, the place he never got a chance to during the recruiting process, just to take in all Notre Dame has to offer.

    “Touchdown Jesus and going to see that church that everybody talks about,” Ekanem said. “I think that’ll be cool. And playing in that environment. I love playing away in these type of games and stuff. Not really trying to have a personal vendetta against guys, but just trying to get better as a team and just get right and get back into the flow of ACC play.”

    Now older and wiser, Ekanem looks back on the nature of his recruitment and can only laugh at aspects of it.

    Rivals ranked him as the No. 8 player in the state in the 2012 class, while 247 Sports put him sixth. He was a hybrid player, recruited by some to play defensive end in a 4-3 scheme and others outside linebacker in a 3-4. With 18 sacks his senior season, schools took note. On the same day, he got offered by Oregon and Notre Dame.

    But along the way, he also got a behind-the-curtain view of college football recruiting. Tennessee showed interest, telling Ekanem it would have offered him if he came on campus. Ekanem informed them that he had been on campus a few years back.

    “[They said], ‘Yeah, but you were a lot smaller back then. Our coach would love you if you stepped on campus,’ ” Ekanem said. “I’m like, ‘Naw, I’m not doing that.’ ”

    Notre Dame intrigued him because of its business program and the program’s prestige. It was Notre Dame, after all, even though he had his doubts if it was right for him throughout the process.

    He saw the kind of players the Irish had at the time — extremely tall defensive ends like Stephon Tuitt and Aaron Lynch — and wondered if his 6-foot-3 frame would fit in. The Fighting Irish, in fact, recruited him to play what they called their “jack” linebacker position on the outside.

    “They had this other guy that was like 6-6, 240 that was playing the jack,” Ekanem said. “He was the same position I would have played at. I was like, ‘Ahh, these are really big boys.’ ”

    The coaching carousel didn’t help Notre Dame’s cause. Offensive coordinator Charley Molnar was Ekanem’s primary recruiter, though his thoughts were elsewhere in December of 2011.

    “He came on a house visit to me, and he kept getting interrupted by these phone calls,” Ekanem said. “I’m like, ‘What the hell is going on?’

    “And the next day, my coach comes up to me and says, ‘What’s up with your boy, Charley Molnar?’ I’m like, ‘I don’t know. He was kind of acting weird last night. I’m not sure.’ And he’s like, ‘He just accepted the head coaching job at UMass.’ I’m like, ‘Ahh, OK.’ ”

    The injury and Notre Dame’s response was just one more thing pushing him elsewhere.

    “I was interested,” Ekanem said. “I guess they weren’t interested in me fully.”

    Virginia Tech’s been the beneficiary. After a redshirt season to rehab his knee and another year of learning, Ekanem has been a three-year starter for the Hokies, with 29 1/2 tackles for loss and 18 1/2 sacks to his credit.

    He’s always dealt with some kind of injury in his career. He played through a torn labrum and rotator cuff two years ago and recently suffered a slight pectoral tear against Syracuse that’s bothered him the last few weeks.

    Ekanem played against Pitt with essentially one arm — “A little bit miserable,” he said — but has improved healthwise the last couple of weeks to nearly 100 percent. With 4 1/2 sacks and 5 1/2 tackles for loss this year, he’s hoping to finish the season strong.

    Already, it’s been a good way to go out. The Hokies’ streak of eight straight 10-win seasons ended Ekanem’s freshman year, when Tech went 7-6. With a 7-3 mark now, they have a chance to get back to the 10-win plateau in his final campaign.

    “It’s all new to me, but it’s an awesome experience to end my senior year like the way we’re doing,” Ekanem said. “Because when I was getting recruited, I remember Bud Foster saying eight straight 10-win seasons and ACC championships and stuff. It was really attractive, and he made a point about how the grass isn’t greener on the other side and you might as well stay home.

    “Yeah, I came here, had kind of just a lot of disappointing seasons, but I’m finishing my senior year how I envisioned my time here at Tech would be. This is an accomplishment, definitely.”

  6. #26
    Community Moderator Jiggafini19's Avatar
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    Brian Kelly, to the surprise of no one, denies what he's saying.

  7. #27
    Moderator IrishDodger's Avatar
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    Sampson acknowledged that someone on staff dropped the ball here but that Ekanem was warned that they were filling up fast and he needed to commit soon. Evidently the verbal offer was rescinded when they filled up (that was the year Kiel decommittted from LSU last minute and became early enrollee at ND) so they told him don't bother visiting, there's no more room. It happened to coincide w/ his injury so it smells bad. Sounds like Kelly got Clintonian as he parsed his words. Doesn't matter, because the kid's perception is he got a scholarship offer taken away b/c he was injured. Would he have ever committed anyway? We will never know.

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