It's been a long, strange road for Ezekiel Ansah on his way to the 2013 NFL draft, one that included questions about his age.
There is hardly a more interesting story revolving around Radio City Music Hall than that of BYU's Ansah. The most pressing question surrounding the young man is just that: How young is he?
ESPN's Chris Mortensen answered one of the more bizarre questions looming on the horizon of the draft with a report that states officials have indeed taken a look at Ansah's passport.
Ansah's listed age of 23 has been the subject of scrutiny by some personnel officials. A copy of his government-issued passport that was transmitted to teams last week shows Ansah will be 24 on May 29. One team said the passport copy was sent by Ansah's agency, Sunwest Sports.
The Ghana passport was issued on March 1, 2008, the same year Ansah traveled to the United States after being converted as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to attend BYU, the Mormon-based college in Provo, Utah.
Thankfully, we can shove aside one of the more ridiculous subplots at the immensely popular draft. Still, the mystery around Ansah's age only served to trump some other rather remarkable parts of the 23-year-old's life.
The Plain-Dealer's Mike Peticca breaks down a defensive end who promises to go in the upper-half of the first round on Thursday.
What's more, he provides a roundup of some of the best reports on a man who is still very much learning a sport he has proved to be more than adept at playing.
A December SI.com report touched up on the Ghana soccer player who had lofty aspirations of one day playing in the NBA. As it turns out, Ken Frei, a "20-year-old BYU sophomore from Idaho Falls," spotted Ansah when he was on a mission in Ghana.
Frei later baptized his friend who had converted to Mormonism. After suggesting to Ansah that he might consider BYU as a stepping stone to the NBA, the amazing athlete was off to America.
While he never excelled as he hoped on the court, he was spotted right away for his acumen on the gridiron.
Despite being one of most vaunted prospects in the draft, Ansah laughs that his family is still not used to the transition.
My mother knows I play football, but she doesn't really know what is going on. She just tells me to stay humble. Every time I talk to my dad, he asks me how is basketball going. And every time I laugh and tell him, 'Dad, I play football.'
A February Yahoo! Sports report signals the rise of yet another Jason Pierre-Paul, a player still getting accustomed to a new sport.
"It is crazy, to go from where I was a year ago to how much people are paying attention to me," Ansah said in his slightly halting English that reverberates through his kettle-drum voice. Ansah is viewed much like Pierre-Paul in 2010, a mid-first-round pick (Pierre, from South Florida, went No. 15 overall to the New York Giants) with high upside and lots of risk.
There is always risk in drafting collegiate talent, and "sure things" don't really exist. However, the NFL certainly has a remarkable athlete whose speed and power have him as a target for the upper echelons of the draft.
The nation, however, is still getting to know this young man who is really just maturing as an NFL player. The only thing we know for certain is that we really wouldn't mind seeing a whole lot more of him, especially as an NFL defensive end.
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