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From Ghana to gridiron in a hurry

MOBILE, Ala. — Whether he's a good fit for a team like the Bucs is debatable, but one intriguing prospect at the Senior Bowl is BYU defensive end Ezekial Ansah.

Besides being a tremendous player, Ansah has a remarkable personal story. He emigrated from Ghana in 2008 and was introduced to football in 2010, after two years on the track and field team.

With a breakout season in 2012, Ansah is being billed as a possible first-round pick, one with immense upside given his lack of experience.

"I started learning (football) in 2010 and I really only started playing (in 2011)," Ansah said. "I have a whole bunch of stuff to learn. Hopefully I'll be able to get it right."

Giving him pro coaching this week will help give teams a sense of whether he can adapt to the complex NFL game, but Ansah is sharp. He's majoring in statistics because, he said, "I just love math."

Ansah is exactly the kind of player who can benefit greatly from a good week.

TURNING PRO: The biggest crowd Monday was generated by Alabama coach Nick Saban, fresh off his national championship victory two weeks ago. He visited the South team practice to check up on five of his former players.

The one-time Dolphins coach was asked about the jump of Oregon coach Chip Kelly to the Eagles last week — the second such move in the past year after Bucs coach Greg Schiano's departure from Rutgers.

"I think he'll do just fine in the NFL," Saban said. "I think when college guys go to the NFL, how you bring players to your team is different (and) how you manage your squad is a little different to how you manage younger players. But being able to do that and make that transition and still be able to develop your players, I think, is a real key to being successful."

Saban wasn't exactly that. He went 15-17 with the Dolphins in 2005-06.

BUCS IN TOWN: General manager Mark Dominik was joined by Schiano, who arrived in the early evening. They'll watch practices today and, perhaps, continue working to fill the defensive backs coaching position that remains vacant. The team was well into its prospect interviews Monday evening and will continue those all week.

Senior Bowl

North vs. South, 4 p.m. Saturday, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Ala. TV: NFL Network

From Ghana to gridiron in a hurry 01/21/13 [Last modified: Monday, January 21, 2013 11:10pm]
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