Skip to main content
Announcements

"Ziggy" Ansah completes unlikely journey to the top in college football

Detroit Lions use the 5th pick to select the graduating senior

On the same day he graduated from BYU, Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah was selected with the 5th pick in the NFL draft by the Detroit Lions.

Ansah came to BYU from Accra, Ghana, and having never played football asked the coach for a chance.

"We decided to let him go through a spring practice," says Mendenhall.

"I didn't know how to put on my pads; I had to have one of my teammates help me out," says Ansah.

The neophyte spent a lot of time on his back, but he wouldn't give up. "That's when he kind of captured my heart," says Mendenhall, "because he was resilient and because he kept getting up and kept coming back."

Ziggy's attitude, intelligence, physical ability and resilience allowed him to progress in short order to an elite player and projected first-round NFL draft pick.

"I'm not sure that's ever happened in college football before," says Mendenhall.

Ansah will graduate with a degree in actuarial science, with a minor in business, something that means a great deal to him and to his family.

"BYU is always going to be in my heart," he says. "I didn't just come through BYU. BYU went through me."

Ansah came to BYU on an academic scholarship after joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ghana. He initially tried out for the BYU basketball team and was on the BYU track team before he walked into Coach Mendenhall's office and asked to play football.

Related Articles
data-content-type="article"
July 21, 2021
BYU Assistant to the President and General Counsel Steve Sandberg announced this week the appointment of Lisa Bohman as BYU’s new chief integrity and compliance officer. She will also serve as the director of the Integrity and Compliance Office at BYU.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
data-content-type="article"
July 19, 2021
This academic year, BYU's forum speakers will address the campus community on a variety of topics around the central theme of “Creating a Beloved Community."
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
data-content-type="article"
June 21, 2021
BYU has named Jeff M. Simpson as the new managing director of BYU Broadcasting. In this position, Simpson will oversee BYU’s radio, television and digital channels, including BYUtv.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText=