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With 10 days until Virginia Tech faces Alabama in the Georgia Dome, we turn our attention to no. 10 on roster Mr. Ken Ekanem. The Centreville star entered Virginia Tech with a lot of hype. After all, his final two choices were Virginia Tech and Notre Dame. Ekanem was a four star recruit out of northern Virginia and was a big coup on the recruiting trail by the Hokies. Right now, Ekanem is still trying to adjust to the position after rebuilding his body over the past year. As it stands, he’s probably the top freshman at defensive end. The downside to that is he’s probably 3rd or 4th at best on the depth chart with the Hokies being so senior and junior heavy at the position.
Weight: 242 lbs
Position: Defensive End
High School: Centreville High School
Location: Centreville, VA
High School Career
Named Group AAA Defensive Player of the Year, Ekanem was a force in high school. He finished his senior year with 18 sacks, 72 tackles, and 32 quarterback pressures. Needless to say, he was damn near unblockable. To top it all off, Ekanem wasn’t a bad tight end either as he caught eight touchdown passes in his final season as well.
From a recruiting standpoint, the Centreville stud was a much needed recruit for the Hokies. Although he held offers from Notre Dame, Michigan, Oregon, Michigan State, UNC, NC State, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, and a handful of others, Ekanem chose the Hokies on February 1st, 2012.
Reasons For Excitement
Explosion: The one thing I loved about Ekanem’s film back in high school was how explosive he was coming off the edge. He reminds me a little of James Gayle in that sense. He’s not Corey Moore by any stretch but he has a good first step for a kid his size. That was one reason why we were in such a fight with Notre Dame to land him. Of course, at the time, the Irish wanted him as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
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Causes For Concern
Knee Injury: Ekanem tore both his ACL and his meniscus in the state title game against Hermitage his senior year. That alone was a shame because up until that point he had 4.5 sacks in that game. That injury took some time to heal, which was one reason why he redshirted last season. Now fully healthy, we have to hope that Ekanem can continue to add weight without doing any further damage to that knee. That’s always a fine line but I think he’ll be OK if he stays below 250 pounds.
What to Expect in 2013
Currently, Ekanem is listed as the backup at ‘end’, which is our weakside defensive end position. He is really 3rd on the depth chart since J.R. Collins and Dadi Nicolas are listed as co-starters. I think that’s a good spot for him since he’ll more than likely develop into the backup next year behind possibly Corey Marshall or even the starter when Nicolas moves back to STUD after James Gayle graduates.
However, it’s tough to say how much the former four star prospect will play this fall. If any injury occurs, I think he’s a solid option to turn to although I haven’t heard Coach Wiles mention him much this preseason.
Ekanem was a big get for us on the recruiting trail and I think that will start paying off next season when Ekanem takes over the starting job at end.
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