As the 2012 college football season is about to come to an end, NFL analysts are predicting Ezekiel (Ziggy) Nana Ansah will be a first-round draft pick.
The Ghana-born Ansah — who grew up dreaming of playing in the NBA and knew nothing about American football — is a standout for BYU's defense, which ranks third in the nation. Over the last nine games of the season, Ansah is third on the team in tackles, second in sacks and first in tackles for loss with 13.
Even though Ansah hardly knew anything about football when he tried out at BYU, his speed, height and weight enabled him to do some special things on the field.
"As soon as someone came to block him, it was like the blocker wasn't even there," Chad Lewis, a former walk-on tight end at BYU who played nine seasons in the NFL before returning as an associate athletic director, told Sports Illustrated. "He just exploded through people. He did it in a way that you could immediately tell football was foreign to him."
After being cut from BYU's basketball team twice in consecutive years, it doesn't look like Ansah's dream of playing in the NBA will become a reality.
"I always wanted to play pro basketball when I was a kid," Ansah told Sports Illustrated. "Coming to America, I had an idea I would have a chance to play in the league. Now it looks like I will play in a different league, the NFL. But I can be better. I'm still learning."
As quickly as Ansah has improved, it will be interesting to see if he gets drafted in the first round of the NFL draft in April, and NFL analysts are right.
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