The 6-foot-3, 240-pound defensive end from Clifton announced his intentions to sign with Virginia Tech at a press conference at Centreville High School.
The news was a bit of a foregone conclusion (while his coach was being interviewed on camera beforehand, speakers accidentally began playing “Enter Sandman”). Ekanem had already whittled his list of schools to Tech and Notre Dame, then canceled a last-minute visit to South Bend after a good trip to Blacksburg.
Ekanem said Notre Dame backed off of him after he tore his ACL late in the season, adding that Virginia Tech showed him “more love” throughout the ordeal.
“I knew I had the right school in mind when a month back or two months back, Virginia Tech told me before the that even if you tear your ACL, you’ll have a scholarship no matter what happened,” he said.
The four-star recruit had 72 tackles, 18 sacks and 32 quarterback hurries for Centreville as a senior, including a 4½-sack performance in the state semifinals. But he tore his ACL in the Group AAA Division 6 championship game and likely is headed for a redshirt season in 2012.
Rivals lists him as the No. 8 player in the state.
Because of the ACL injury suffered late in the season, Ekanem might redshirt in 2012.
Ekanem was one of three high-profile targets for Virginia Tech on Signing Day. The Hokies got Midlothian wide receiver Joel Caleb but lost out on Lynchburg defensive lineman Korren Kirven to Alabama.
* Committed: Feb. 1, 2012
* High school coach: Chris Haddock
* Recruited by: Bud Foster
* Also considered: Notre Dame, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Oregon
* Rivals: 15 position (OLB), 209 national, 8 state
* Scout: 25 position (DE), 202 national
* ESPN: 20 position (OLB), 28 region, 6 state
* 247: 197 national, 13 position (WDE), 7 state