Found April 11, 2013 on
Fox Sports Detroit:
If you hadn't heard of Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah a few months ago, you're not alone.
He wasn't even on the radar of NFL scouts entering last season.
In his previous two years as a football player at Brigham Young, Ansah (pronounced "Ahn-saw") recorded a total of 10 tackles, no sacks, no tackles for loss, one quarterback hurry and one pass breakup in 18 games, none of them as a starter.
And now, seemingly out of nowhere, he's emerged as one of the top prospects in the NFL Draft and a definite possibility for the Detroit Lions with the No. 5 pick overall.
This is not your normal path to the draft.
Ansah was born and raised in Accra, Ghana in Africa. He enrolled at BYU in 2008, tried out for the basketball team, spent a year on the track squad and finally decided to take up football for the first time in his life in 2010. They had to show him how to put on his pads.
"I never thought about playing football," Ansah told reporters during the NFL Scouting Combine. "I never played the game. I didn't know much about it.
"But I was really athletic. I didn't want to just sit around and (only) go to school. I wanted to do something. Since basketball didn't work out, I decided to go do it in football."
His college coach, Bronco Mendenhall, never expected him to even make it to his first fall camp because Ansah "couldn't get enough oxygen to finish a drill."
But Ansah's stamina and knowledge of the game improved to the point that his freakish athleticism eventually emerged. He was finally awarded a scholarship before last season and worked his way into the starting lineup at defensive end by the fifth game.
NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock recently elevated Ansah to the top 4-3 defensive end in his player rankings for the draft. It's a position of need for the Lions, who must replace starters Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch.
Charley Casserly, a former NFL general manager, is currently projecting Ansah to the Lions in his mock draft posted on NFL.com.
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. projects Ansah to go even higher at No. 2 to Jacksonville.
"It's an amazing meteoric rise," Kiper said. "To go from off the radar completely, didn't even become a starter until after the first few games, not a lot of sacks but yet he's going to be a top-5 pick. That's an amazing story for as far as he's come just in a very, very short period of time."
In his final year, Ansah had 62 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 4 12 sacks, one interception, nine pass breakups, six quarterback hurries and one forced fumble in 13 games.
Good but not great.
His chances of becoming an early first-round pick appeared to be lost at the Senior Bowl when he was unimpressive during the week of practice.
But Ansah ended up dominating the Senior Bowl game and followed that up at the Combine with an extraordinary display of athleticism for his size.
Ansah, who is 6-foot-5, 271 pounds, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.63 seconds. He tested off the charts in other drills, too.
"There are a lot of questions about the guy, but you can't question his movement skills, his size and his motor," Mayock said. "He has a phenomenal upside. It's just going to take a little time."
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
The Detroit Lions might have found Jason Hanson's replacement on YouTube.
The team announced Thursday afternoon that they had signed Norwegian soccer player Havard Rugland to a free-agent contract.
Rugland has never played organized football but became an internet sensation when he posted a video of trick-shot kicks to YouTube.
He was given the nickname "Kickalicious...
No, Jason Hanson isn’t coming out of retirement but the Lions did sign a kicker actually referred to as Kickalicious…
Thursday, Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com tweeted that the Lions have signed Norwegian kicker Havard Rugland to a contract.
The Lions have signed Norwegian kicker Havard Rugland to a contract.
— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) April 11, 2013
In addition to the...
Pictured above is Havard Rugland, or as he likes to call himself, Kickalicious™. Rugland has uploaded multiple videos to Youtube where he kicks a football in unusual ways, in usual settings, for unusual results.The videos have apparently caught the eye of multiple NFL teams and Rugland has even been invited to work out for a few of them. And apparently, the Detroit Lions liked...
Louis L’Amore taught our society to cherish the story of the little guy who makes it big. By the looks of it, we’re seeing one before our very eyes. According to reports, the Detroit Lions have signed kicking prospect Havard Rugland, better known by the moniker “Kickalicious.” For the past few weeks, we have been [...]The post Detroit Lions sign internet celebrity Kickalicious...
What can I day Juan?
Reggie Bush has a legion of fans, and for one reason or another, they all seem to be female. The Detroit Lions running back was spotted fine dining at Tra Di Noi Focacceria in Beverly Hills. I think Reggie has a new favorite shirt. Thanks to TerezOwens for the find.
Reggie Bush Caught Leaving The Pink Taco
Reggie Bush In A Sea Of Gringos
The Detroit Lions and mainly head coach Jim Schwartz were ecstatic to sign Reggie Bush and alleviate some of the playmaking pressure on Calving Johnson.
Schwartz plans to get all the use he can out of Bush, and feels even with the carries he’ll receive, Bush could catch 60-80 balls as wells.
Jim Schwartz said Reggie Bush could potentially catch 60-70-80 passes next season
The Detroit Lions signed YouTube sensation “KICKALICIOUS” yesterday. The 28-year-old Norwegian Havard Rugland gained notoriety by his YouTube handle, “Kickalicious.” The Lions didn’t disclose terms of Rugland’s contract. I think he will make practice a lot more interesting. To see his Trick Shot Video continue reading.-TO
Stafford and Girlfriend Support Their Pistons...
Barry Sanders already knocked off one former San Francisco 49ers star. Can he take down another?
If so, as odd as it may sound considering the franchise's hideous history, the Detroit Lions could be on the cover of the Madden video game for the second straight year.
Sanders, a Hall of Fame running back, defeated quarterback Joe Montana (three Super Bowl MVPs) to advance to...
Last week, Jason Hanson announced his retirement after what must have been 21 grueling seasons playing for the Lions. When a celebrated veteran departs after two-plus decades of service, you can’t replace him with just anyone. Actually, that’s not true. The Lions can sign just about any old busted kicker they want, which is why Detroit brought on David Akers, who very narrowly...
As a Detroit Lions fan, I can say the entire state of Michigan was thrilled when it was announced that Reggie Bush had been signed to our team. While our run game has been far from explosive for some years now, Bush shows the potential to resolve so many of our problems that we’ve had [...]
Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz predicts electric running back Reggie Bush could catch as many as 80 passes in 2013. The 28-year-old Bush, who the New Orleans Saints took out of the University of Southern California with the second pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, signed a four-year contract with the Lions in March worth roughly $20 million. Detroit intends to make the 6-foot, 203...
Remember this YouTube video from last year?
Not long after signing beleaguered kicker from "The League", David Akers, the Lions went out and signed a YouTube sensation. Last time Jim Schwartz got hard watching a player's YouTube highlights, that player didn't really pan out (due to injury).
I guess we'll have to wait and see how this compelling...
The Detroit Lions are giving a Norwegian Internet kicking sensation a shot to make the team.
Hot News for C Jim Schwartz