BYU's Ezekiel Ansah drawing comparisons to Jason Pierre-Paul

By Matt Rybaltowski | CBSSports.com
Ezekiel Ansah compares his game to that of Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul . (US Presswire)

Arguably the top pass rusher at this week's Senior Bowl has only spent a few years in the United States and didn't even play competitive football before 2010.

But at 6-6, 270 pounds, former BYU linebacker Ezekiel Ansah possesses the explosiveness and closing speed that can't be coached. Inevitably, the comparisons between Ansah and Jason Pierre-Paul are going to swell over the next few months.

Ansah, a native of Accra, Ghana, described his nation's 2-1 Round-of-16 win over the United States in the 2010 FIFA World Cup as “the best moment of his life.” Shortly after arriving in Provo, Ansah watched the victory with a large contingent of Ghanaian students in Utah. Ansah excelled on the pitch in his homeland and credits soccer for helping him with the footwork needed to rush at a stand-up position as a 3-4 outside linebacker.

In 2010, Ansah walked on to the BYU track team and ran a personal-best of 21.9 seconds in the 200 meters. Upon the urgings of a Cougars' assistant track coach, Ansah took up football.

“It was hard but my teammates and coaches helped me through it,” Ansah said.

Ansah models his game after Pierre-Paul, the Giants defensive end, who also entered the league with little seasoning. As a zone blitzer, Ansah compares himself favorably with Clay Matthews.

Lions coach Jim Schwartz, the South coach at the Senior Bowl, says Ansah isn't as raw as people think.

“Everybody keeps saying that he's raw but I keep seeing things like instincts and knocking down passes that doesn't look raw to me,” Schwartz said. “It looks like he has a really good feel for the game.”

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