BYU football: No longer a football novice, Ziggy Ansah has NFL potential

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 10 2012 10:00 p.m. MDT

Because of the distance between Provo and his homeland, Ansah isn't able to see his family very often. After the season-opener against Washington State, Ansah, who is the youngest of five siblings, flew to New York City to spend the weekend with his mom and sister. He hadn't seen them in four years.

At BYU, meanwhile, Ansah has been embraced by his football family.

"My teammates been great," he said. "I really love them. I love the brotherhood on the team. They not only praise me for what I do, but they tell me my mistakes and how I can get better. I really appreciate that."

Back in Ghana, very few people know about Ansah's college football exploits. But in Provo, he's become a celebrity. Everyone seems to know about Ziggy.

"Every time there's a football game, my kids say, 'Dad, are we going?' " Myles-Mills said. "I ask who BYU is playing and they'll say, 'We want to watch Ziggy' before they tell me who BYU is playing. He's a household name right now. Everybody knows him. I went to buy fertilizer for my yard last weekend and the sales guy and asked me if I knew anyone on the team. I said, 'Yeah.' I said, 'Who do you think that would be?' He said, 'Ziggy?' I said, 'Yeah.' Watching BYU football is always fun, but knowing him, what he's gone through to get there and to see him get all of those tackles, it's so much fun watching him."

And there's a chance football fans will be watching Ansah on Sundays. Ansah admits that thoughts of playing in the NFL dance in the back of his mind.

"If I said I don't think about it, then I'm lying," he said. "But I try really hard not to think about it. I just focus on helping my team and doing my thing here in college."

Will Ansah end up in the NFL? If it happens, who knows? Maybe Hollywood will make a movie about it.

"Ziggy's picked up a knowledge of the game faster than anybody that I've been around," said Poppinga. "This is a guy that came from Ghana three years ago. All of the sudden, two years ago, he played his first year of football, not knowing anything. Very similar to the guy in 'The Blind Side.' He didn't know how to get in a stance or do anything. He didn't know how to play with his hands. And how fast he's picked up everything has blown me away. Seriously, it's unbelievable."

Cougars on the air

No. 10 Oregon State (4-0) at BYU (4-2)

Saturday, 1:30 p.m. MT

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Email: jeffc@desnews.com

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