Former BYU and current Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah is quietly making a name for himself in the National Football League.
With just three years of organized football under his belt now, Ziggy is beginning to make believers out of those who believed he was just going to be another flash in the pan type who came in with tons of potential — yet never fully achieved it.
Possessing unique gifts of size, speed, length and athletic ability, the 24-year-old rookie has not only surpassed expectations, he is far and away the best defensive player to come out of the state of Utah in years.
His production is better than that of former Utah Utes and current Carolina Panther defensive tackle Star Lotuleilei — and the former BYU star via the African nation of Ghana has played one fewer game.
We’ll tell you how well he’s playing when you click on the photos.
And don’t forget about Alex Smith. The former Ute star is now 8-0 on the season, his best start ever as a pro. He’s certainly become a regular fixture on Utahns In The NFL based on his weekly performances.
And ex-Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner is helping the Seattle Seahawks to a 7-1 record — having now recovered from an injury that sidelined him for two games.
All this on Utahns In The NFL for week 8…Click on the photos…
Ezekiel (Ziggy) Ansah – Detroit Lions – Defensive End (BYU)
Ziggy had two tackles and no sacks in the Lions’ stunning, come-from-behind 31-30 win over the Dallas Cowboys.
Ansah, the former BYU star from Ghana who is quietly amassing some pretty impressive numbers has had a tremendous rookie season, even better than his counterpart Star Lotuleilei from Utah.
Ziggy has 19 tackles, similar numbers to Star — but Ansah is different in that he has also has forced two fumbles and sacked opposing quarterbacks three times this season.
His quiet but impressive numbers are leading many pundits to believe that the best is truly yet to come for the soft-spoken former Cougar.
Click the next photo to see how former Utah Utes fared in Week 8…
Star Lotuleilei – Carolina Panthers – Defensive Tackle (Utah)
The rookie from Utah had three tackles in the Panthers’ 31-13 win over the hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The 1st round draft choice and former Utah Ute now has 20 tackles and one sack on the season.
His teammate and fellow Utah Ute Steve Smith also had four catches for 42 yards — and was not disturbed by any meddling Buccaneers in the secondary, either.
How did former Ute Alex Smith do Sunday? Click to find out…
Alex Smith – Kansas City Chiefs – Quarterback (Utah)
Alex Smith cannot be stopped by anyone in the NFL this season. No matter how hard the Cleveland Browns tried, they simply couldn’t snap the Chiefs’ seven-game winning streak nor could they slow down Smith.
The veteran and former No. 1 pick out of Utah led his team to a 23-17 win over Cleveland in a game that wasn’t decided until the last minute.
Smith hasn’t thrown many touchdown passes of late — but he had two TD tosses Sunday against the Browns to go with 225 yards.
His first TD chucks since week 4 included a bullet to Dexter McCluster that probably reminded some Ute fans of the days when Smith was ripping throws to Paris Warren, Steve Savoy and Co.
He also ran six times for 40 yards, running his record to 8-0 and reminding those die-hard U fans of that magical 2004-05 unbeaten run that led to the Utes’ first BCS bowl appearance.
See how Utah State Aggies did this weekend…
Bobby Wagner – Seattle Seahawks – Linebacker (Utah State)
The Seattle Seahawks welcomed back former Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner to the lineup Monday night in St. Louis — and the results were more of the same for the burgeoning star.
Wagner had five tackles, one assisted in the Seahawks’ 14-9 win over the fast rising Rams.
It was Wagner’s first NFL action since week 5 when he suffered an injury.
He now has 40 tackles on the season. Former Aggie and fellow Seahawk Robert Turbin, a running back, added five yards on three carries for Seattle.
And now for some unfortunate news on Utahns In The NFL…
Matt Asiata – Minnesota Vikings – Running Back (Utah)
One final note on a sad day: Our thoughts and prayers go out to current Minnesota Viking and former Utah Utes star running back (and Hunter High Wolverine) Matt Asiata and his family.
His father Pita was killed last night in the West Desert of Utah when the tour bus he was driving back from Wendover, Nevada along Interstate 80 stopped suddenly, colliding into a maintenance truck.
The crane on the back of the maintenance truck slammed through the front windshield of the tour bus, killing Mr. Asiata instantly.
He was 53.