The Wolverine

November 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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NOVEMBER 2016 THE WOLVERINE 69   COMMITMENT PROFILE The Michigan coaching staff hosted nine top targets from the 2017 class for the game against Wisconsin Oct. 1 and a few of them were on some level of commitment watch heading into the weekend. After the Wolverines de‑ feated the Badgers 14‑7 and the dust settled, it was a 2018 prospect that decided to pledge to U‑M. Indianapolis Cathedral four‑star offensive guard Emil Ekiyor saw everything he needed to at U‑M and de‑ cided that he'd like to spend his college years in Ann Ar‑ bor. The 6‑4, 315‑pounder went into the weekend con‑ templating a commitment and left a Wolverine. "Going in I was thinking about it a lot," Ekiyor said. "With them being my first offer, I really loved Michigan for a long time. The weekend visit just sealed the deal. Everything felt perfect, so I ended up committing." Ekiyor 's teammate and friend, 2018 running back Markese Stepp, was also in attendance for the Wis‑ consin game despite being commit‑ ted to Notre Dame. The four‑star running back also holds an offer from Michigan and even as a potential fu‑ ture rival of Ekiyor, he was amped up for his friend's big moment. "Before we went up there he kept saying how great the university was," Stepp explained. "He really likes it up there, and he was like, 'Bro, I'm going to commit.' He wasn't for sure, but he was thinking about it. Once we got up there, he realized it was the place for him. "I was actually urging him on. I thought it would be a great time to do that. He actually didn't commit the day of the game; it was the next day. I was really happy for him." Ekiyor's head coach at Cathedral, Rick Streiff, knew that his big guard was high on the Maize and Blue, but even he was a bit shocked by what transpired. "It was a little bit of a surprise when he sent me a text on Sunday af‑ ternoon that he was going to make a commitment," Streiff said. "I'm very happy for him, though. It's interest‑ ing how things all work out since Michigan was the first school to offer way back when. He's a really good fit for a place like Michigan." Ekiyor agrees with his head coach and thinks he'll be comfortable at U‑M. "I think I'm a good fit because I'm physical, and they run the ball a lot," Ekiyor said. "They like my agility, I'll be pulling a lot there with the power game and hopefully I will be a good fit." Midwest recruiting an‑ alyst Josh Helmholdt thinks the fit is just right. "He is a big, big kid, which is fine as long as he can move at that size and he does a tremendous job at do‑ ing that," Helmholdt said. "It's im‑ pressive to watch him run around. If you don't realize that the kid is 6‑4, 330 pounds, he may not impress you, but when you understand that, it's a pretty impressive thing to observe. He's an athlete on that offensive line. He does need to be constantly mindful of where he is from a weight standpoint, but he moves well. "He's the exact kind of interior lineman that Jim Harbaugh likes to put on the field." The fit at Michigan isn't just about football performance either. Streiff said that Ekiyor has the character that makes him a natural as a Michi‑ gan Man. "He's your typical offensive line‑ man. He wants to please, and he's always going to do the right thing," Streiff said. "His dad is our defen‑ sive line coach, so he's always around and learning about football. They are a great family. "The expectations and what Emil's going to bring to Michigan are just off the charts. He'll be one of those great kids on and off the field. I would be beyond shocked if he ever got into any kind of trouble. He's just not that kind of kid." Ekiyor and Cathedral fin‑ ished 8‑4 last season and lost to Michigan quarterback Brandon Peters and Avon in the quarterfinals of the Indi‑ ana Class 6A playoffs. Because of his performance as a sophomore, Ekiyor was selected as a member of the 2016 ALL‑USA IndyStar Preseason Foot‑ ball Super Team. The No. 4 offensive guard and No. 127 overall player in the nation is also considered the top junior in the state of Indiana. He picked Michi‑ gan over schools like Florida, Florida State, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Tennessee, USC and several others. — Brandon Brown Four-Star Indiana Lineman Emil Ekiyor Fits Perfectly At Michigan FILM EVALUATION Strengths: Emil Ekiyor is extremely light on his feet and has a level of athleticism you don't usually see in someone who is 6-4, 315 pounds. He is versatile enough to play all positions along the line, including center, but will definitely settle into an interior position in college. Areas Of Improvement: Both his coach and the regional analyst in his area said that conditioning and body composition need to improve. How much Ekiyor weighs isn't an issue, but how the weight is distrib- uted and how strong he can get will be the determining factor to how good he can be. Michigan Player Comparison: Ekiyor compares favorably to former Michigan offensive lineman Chris Bryant. Coming out of high school, Bryant was longer, but still had that thick base and massive size that Eki- yor possesses. — Analysis from ranks Ekiyor as a four-star prospect, and the No. 4 offensive guard and No. 127 overall player in the class of 2018. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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