Hello, my name is . . . Faith Ekakitie
Lake Forest (Ill.) Academy star will likely end up a defensive tackle for the Hawkeyes
Faith Ekakitie is the recruit with the blog, faithflex.com.
He blogged about his entire recruiting process, including visits, before he decided on the Hawkeyes in December.
His entry after visiting Iowa City was honest. He wasn’t overwhelmed by the campus, but liked that it was compact and was a little more "city" than he thought it'd be. Iowa didn’t rank the best of his five final schools academically in head-to-head comparisons, but he liked the academic center.
Here's what he wrote about Iowa:
Players/Community: The players here are great, they are all great kids, and made me feel welcome during my entire visit. It is obvious that they are all tightly-knit though. It would have been nice to see some of the players go their own ways and interact with more members of the community aside from the night life. Most people would consider the fact that the players spend a majority of their time together as a plus, and a good “team-building” tool, but I personally believe that making friends out of football would be beneficial to the players. As for the community, they just love you. It seems like all of Iowa city knows who you are in Iowa city, so you essentially are the stars of Iowa city.
Football: It’s no secret that Iowa is graduating some key linemen this year, and those linemen are most likely going to end up getting drafted. So this leaves a space open for one of the incoming freshman linemen to play right away. Now I’m not saying that I am ready to play right away, because I honestly don’t know if I am. I’m still a very young student of the game, and unlike many recruits, I realize this and accept this. But on the flip side, I want to do whatever it is that is going to make me the best player possible, so if that means possibly playing early, then I’m certainly all for it.
So, it's not always about playing time for kids. Excellent insight.
From ESPN.com: Ekakitie is a defensive line prospect, but exactly where along the defensive line he will play is still a bit of a question at this point. He is a kid with good size. He carries a good amount of bulk on his frame and looks to carry it well. He is a high school defensive end and you kind of assume that he will grow into a defensive tackle with his current size, but he may be a kid whose build is close to its ceiling in how much more good size it can handle. If he can add more good bulk then he will most certainly move inside, but if not he could stay at end.
And here's some from Rivals.com's midwest recruiting analyst Josh Helmholdt: Ekakitie, I think, ultimately ends up down and plays a 3-technique defensive tackle because I think that's just the way he's built. He's an athletic kid. The thing I need to see out of him is a little bit more thunder, a little bit more passion in the way he plays the game, but all the physical tools are there.
What Iowa coaches said
Recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson: We'll see where it goes. Faith and Jaleel [Johnson, another Iowa DL recruit] are guys we targeted from the get-go. They're bigger bodies and really good-looking guys. . . . Those guys from a size standpoint probably have a little bit of an advantage over the other guys [the DEs Iowa recruited in this class in reference to early playing time]. We have to see when they get here on campus.
Faith has long arms. He originally came to the states [he's from Brampton, Ontario] to play basketball. Football was a secondary thought. He is a very, very good athlete.
What I think
I think Helmholdt is right when he describes Ekakitie as a "3-technique" tackle. The 3-tech lines up on the outside shoulder of the guard. He isn't the "big fella" who lines up at 1-tech (over the center), but the 3-technique tackle is typically quicker than the 1-tech and has to deal with double teams less often. He is also more responsible for rushing the passer than the 1 technique.
Ekakitie is 6-3, 275 pounds right now, so the 300 pounds or thereabouts for a 3-tech is in reach. He'll have to develop the physical techniques to play inside for a two-gap defense (basically wrestling the O-lineman into running lanes). Quick off the ball shouldn't be a problem. Also, Iowa likes to loop DTs and DEs, and Ekakitie's basketball background should help there.
Will Iowa ask him to stack and shed blockers or penetrate gaps? Likely stack and shed. Those DTs need some maturing, so I think Ekakitie redshirts in 2012.