American football is not exactly a hot commodity in Ghana. Basketball has a bit more of a following. As a boy growing up in the West African nation, Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah played soccer and dreamed of becoming teammates with LeBron James in the NBA.
Through the twists and turns that make life interesting, Ansah traveled from Ghana to Brigham Young University. The 6-foot-6, 270-pound student hoped to walk onto the basketball team. That didn’t happen, but Ansah took up football, a sport he had never played before.
Now, just a few years after taking up the game, Ansah is projected as a first-round pick in the NFL Draft in April. An NFL.com report published Monday noted that “the stock of the BYU star has soared through the roof” after his performances in the league’s scouting combine in Indianapolis. First-round picks get a lot of attention anyway, but because of his fascinating story and upbeat demeanor Ansah will get even more in the coming weeks.
In December, Ansah and Sports Illustrated writer Jeff Benedict joined Bill Littlefield on Only A Game to discuss Ansah’s more-than-unusual road to a high-profile football career.