Monday, 20 January 2014


                              BLACK                    SOCIAL                 HISTORY                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Ezekiel Nana "Ziggy" Ansah  born May 29, 1989  is a Ghanaian player of American football who plays defensive end for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL). Ansah played college football for Brigham Young University (BYU). The Detroit Lions picked him the first round (5th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft.

Early life

Ansah grew up playing soccer and had never seen American football as a youth. In addition to soccer, Ansah was also an enthusiastic basketball fan. He regularly played pickup basketball games at Golden Sunbeam Montessori School where he attended from 4th grade to 9th grade and developed his basketball interests and abilities on a turf donated by Forever Young Foundation (Steve Young). Ansah played on Golden Sunbeam basketball team and became the most valuable player and led his team to win many games. Because of the basketball facility of the school, it drew the attention of basketball enthusiasts, including missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). It was at these pickup basketball games with missionaries and students that Ansah developed a friendship with Ken Frei, an LDS Church missionary. Ansah was later baptized a member of the church at age 18. Frei, who taught and baptized Ansah, kept in touch with Ansah after returning to the United States and later suggested that if he was serious about basketball, Ansah should come to Brigham Young University and try out for the basketball team.

High School Education

Ansah joined the Presbyterian Boys' Senior Secondary School, Legon in 2004. He studied Business. During his stay in the school, Ansah actively participated in sports, playing an active role in the basketball team while participating in other field and track sports. During his stay in high school he was a resident of Kwansa House. He graduated from High School in Ghana in June 2007 and returned to Golden Sunbeam as a Teaching Assistant where in his spare time, he trained the pupils in basketball.
Under his mentoring the Golden Sunbeam basketball team won several tournaments while playing international schools in Ghana. When the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) results became public,Ezekiel had 7A's and a B in his Business program.

College Career

Ansah applied to and was accepted at Brigham Young University with the help and support of Golden Sunbeam and the assistance of his friend, former ICT teacher and mentor, Alma Ohene Opare who was at BYU at the time. Ezekiel's academic records enabled him to receive an academic scholarship in 2008. Alma Ohene Opare and later Ken Free played critical roles in helping Ezekiel Ansah adjust to his new surroundings and culture in a new country. Ansah tried out for the BYU Cougars men's basketball team twice, but was cut from both the 2008 and 2009 teams. After facing rejection in basketball, Ansah successfully walked on to the BYU Cougars track team, where he ran a 10.91 in the 100 meters in addition to clocking a time of 21.89 seconds in the 200 meters.
Finally, Ansah was persuaded to try out for the BYU Cougars football team, successfully walked onto the team, and played for the Cougars from 2010 to 2012.

Sophomore Season

Unfamiliar with American football, Ansah had to be instructed in the most basic rules and techniques, even needing help getting on his pads for the first time. Mid-way through the 2010 season Ansah made his first collegiate appearance in the Cougars' game versus Wyoming where he recorded his first tackle. During the 2010 season he saw action in six games on special teams and the defensive line, recording three tackles and a pass breakup.

Junior season

The 2011 season was Ansah's fourth year in school but only third year of eligibility. He played sporadically on third downs as a defensive end or outside linebacker, recording seven total tackles for the season.

Senior season

For the 2012 season Ansah resumed his role as a situation player. However during week four, nose guard Eathyn Manumaleuna hurt his knee and Ansah took his place. Over the final nine games of the season Ansah was third on the team in tackles (48), second in sacks (4.5) and first in tackles for loss (13).
For the 2012 season, the BYU Cougars led the nation in red zone defense (opponent red zone percentage of .62), was second in rushing defense (84.25 yards/game), third in 3rd down conversion percentage (27.71%) and total defense (allowing 26.33 yards/game), fourth in First Downs defense (14.83/game), and fifth in scoring defense (176 total points). Additionally, they were in the top 25 in passing defense (13th), quarterback sacks (22nd), fourth down conversion defense (23rd), and tackles for loss (25th).