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NFL draft notebook: Ziggy Ansah ready for draft night in New York

Published: Sunday, Aug. 30 2015 5:34 p.m. MDT

BYU's Ziggy Ansah participates in the NFL "Play 60" event for kids prior to the 2013 NFL draft. (Jaren Wilkey, BYU) BYU's Ziggy Ansah participates in the NFL "Play 60" event for kids prior to the 2013 NFL draft. (Jaren Wilkey, BYU)

NEW YORK — On the eve of the National Football League draft, Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah was experiencing all the expected emotions.

"Mixed feelings. I'm anxious," the former BYU defensive lineman said Wednesday. "I'm going to find out where I'm going to be. I'm excited and happy about it. I'm really humbled and excited to be here."

Ansah will be joined in the green room at Radio City Music Hall Thursday night by his mother, Betty, who arrived here from Ghana Wednesday morning; some cousins; an aunt; and various friends.

BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall will be here, too.

"It will mean a lot," having Mendenhall in New York on this special night, Ansah said. "He was the one who gave me the opportunity to play this game."

BYU's Ziggy Ansah participates in the NFL "Play 60" event for kids prior to the 2013 NFL draft. (Jaren Wilkey, BYU) BYU's Ziggy Ansah participates in the NFL "Play 60" event for kids prior to the 2013 NFL draft. (Jaren Wilkey, BYU)

And what will it be like for Ansah to have his name called at famed Radio City Music Hall?

"It's going to be a lot of hard work that's finally paid off," he said. "I thank my Heavenly Father for giving me all these talents and my coaches and teammates for supporting me. … Five years ago, I never thought about it. But this is it. This is it. I'm really comfortable to be a part of all this. I've really worked hard and got a lot of help from my coaches and teammates and friends and family. I'm really grateful for them."

What does Ziggy's family think about the NFL and all of this attention?

"They're all really excited about it," he said. "They can't wait for tomorrow to come. We're all anxious to find out where we're going to be. We've just got to wait."

BYU's Ziggy Ansah participates in the NFL "Play 60" event for kids prior to the 2013 NFL draft. (Jaren Wilkey, BYU) BYU's Ziggy Ansah participates in the NFL "Play 60" event for kids prior to the 2013 NFL draft. (Jaren Wilkey, BYU)

ROOTING FOR ZIGGY: Both former and current BYU players are going to be tuned in to Thursday night's draft, eager to see where Ansah lands.

Many of them can't believe how much Ansah has progressed in such a short amount of time.

"It's crazy. It blows my mind," said former Cougar and current Washington Redskin Bryan Kehl. "He's got the potential to be dominant. It's going to be exciting to see how high he goes."

A QUESTION OF AGE: Reports surfaced last week that some NFL teams were skeptical of Ansah's age.

Ansah provided a copy of his passport to verify that he is 23 years old.

"It was what it was. I gave them my passport. I'm 23 and I'll be 24 in May," Ansah said Wednesday when asked about the issue. "I don't know what else I can say about that."

BYU's Ziggy Ansah participates in the NFL "Play 60" event for kids prior to the 2013 NFL draft. (Jaren Wilkey, BYU) BYU's Ziggy Ansah participates in the NFL "Play 60" event for kids prior to the 2013 NFL draft. (Jaren Wilkey, BYU)

SIGHTSEEING IN NEW YORK: Asked what he wanted to do while in New York this week, Ansah said, "I know I want to see the Statue of Liberty, and just have a fun time with my family."

What does he think of the Big Apple?

"I love it. It's a little bit crazy. Crazy driving, tall buildings," he said. "Nice people out here and beautiful weather."

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