SALT LAKE CITY — Jeff Benedict recently previewed a story in the Deseret News he wrote about BYU football standout and future NFL draft pick Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah in Sports Illustrated. The feature is definitely worth reading. Along with sports movies such as "The Blindside," "Coach Carter" and "Rudy," Ziggy’s story is another inspiring tale that could surely be made into another hit. BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall has shared this same sentiment with ESPN producers during game preview meetings throughout the season.
Could Ziggy be the star of the next “Blindside”?
"The Blindside" is a recent award-winning movie that recounts a homeless boy’s journey to the NFL. The movie tells the story of Michael Oher, who, with the help of a caring Southern woman and her family, learned to play football in high school before going on to become an All-American and, after an outstanding college football career, became a first-round NFL draft pick.
Ziggy’s story begins in his native home of Ghana, where he dreamed of following in the footsteps of his icon, LeBron James, and playing in the NBA. He traveled to Provo, Utah, to pursue his dream at BYU, only to be turned away by the basketball team not once, but twice, before joining the track team because of his speed. However, because of his size, he hit runners in nearby lanes, causing his coach to suggest he try out for football.
The story ends — or you could say really begins — when he walked onto the BYU football team in 2010, only because of the urging of others. Never having played football in his life, Ziggy didn’t even know how to put pads on, let alone anything about playing the sport. This season, Ziggy is a senior and has worked his way up to a starting position after proving himself to be a dominant defensive threat.
Just three years after learning to play football for the first time, Ziggy has stunned ESPN announcers, media, fans and NFL scouts across the country. The Ghana native is now projected to be a first-round draft pick in the NFL by multiple scouts and sources.
Ziggy's is an inspiring story that shows the impossible can come true, inspiring fans to never give up on their dreams — because you never know what turn they will take. Ziggy’s story teaches us to never give up because of your circumstances. Surely, there will be a movie made about Ziggy that inspires the nation.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company