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BYU football: NFL Draft next step in Ziggy Ansah’s improbable trek
NFL » After a humble start, Ansah’s meteoric rise may place him in the draft’s top five.

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Here is a guy who didn’t receive a scholarship until his senior year and worked for years on the BYU janitorial and grounds crews to pay his way through school. Last fall, with the national spotlight growing bigger and bigger, he took and aced four statistics classes, often bolting from practice because it was his turn to lead a study group.

Although many suggested he take winter semester off and prepare for the draft, he still took the last class (American Heritage) he needed to graduate and earn his degree in actuarial science so he could walk with his class on Thursday. Alas, Ansah will miss graduation because he will be in the Big Apple with his family from Accra, Ghana, this week. His parents, Edward and Elizabeth, have never seen him play a down of football, except on replays, but they have taken a crash course on the sport via the Internet.

At a glance

Ansah’s journey

2010 » Joined BYU’s squad in the spring, played football for the first time and saw action in six games as a sophomore, making three tackles

2011 » Played sparingly in 12 games as a junior, recording three solo and four assisted tackles

2012 » Started nine games as a senior, becoming a starter only after Eathyn Manumaleuna suffered a season-ending knee injury against Boise State in the fourth week. Finished with 62 tackles, 4.5 sacks, one interception and one forced fumble

2013 » Shined at NFL Combine in Indianapolis, zooms up draft boards around the league

NFL Draft

O Thursday, 6 p.m.


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Ansah agreed to be one of 23 players in attendance only when he learned he could walk in August.

"At the [NFL] Combine, everybody was infatuated with the kid, impressed with him and what he did," said his agent, Frank Bauer of Stockton-based Sun West Sports. "Ziggy is a breath of fresh air. He is very grateful for what is going on."

Hollywood should be, too, if Mendenhall knows what he is talking about.



Twitter: @drewjay

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