[pullout_quote credit="Iowa football recruit Faith Ekakitie" align="right"]They have even extended scholarships to kids who were not being recruited at all, and the best part about this is that all of these players end up being great players in the end that are competing with the very best in the Big 1o.[/pullout_quote]
OK, just his name alone would normally be enough for me. Faith Ekakitie. That's a great name. If you had a bad rack of vowels and hard-to-use consonants in Words with Friends, "Faith Ekakitie" could get you out of a jam and score you a lot of points.
Ekakitie is Iowa's latest football recruiting commitment. He's from Lake Forest, Ill. He's not my new favorite because of his name. Names are names.
No, I like a person who writes, who communicates, who thinks for him or herself, who isn't fearful of saying what he or she thinks. And Ekakitie does that in his blog, faithflex.com. It's honest. It's good stuff.
In his latest post, December 8th, Ekakitie wrote this:
This past week and a half was probably the most stressing/unhappy week of recruiting for me at least. I canít really speak for everyone else that was involved lol. But I know that it was definitely not a walk in the park for me. As some of you may know, my final list of five schools were; Oregon, Boston College, Northwestern, Iowa, and Georgia Tech. All five great schools in their own ways. ...
Now, we are down to two schools. Boston College and Iowa. ... Being a Jesuit school, BC embodied many of the same values that I had grown up around thanks to my wonderful parents. And for my family and I, this was definitely a check. Iowa however, even though not being a Jesuit school is built on very solid family-like values. This was a plus in my books. Boston College offered me an opportunity to compete for playing time very early in my college career due to a lack of linemen. Iowa also offered this exact same opportunity. When looking at academics, BC offers an education rival to many of the Ivy League schools. Gosh, the area that BC is located in is just a pool of education in general being surrounded by schools like Harvard, MIT, and BU. When it came to what Iowa had to offer me academically, they boasted the largest teaching college in the nation for kinesiology - an area of interest for me. At this point you can see where this decision would become extremely difficult for me to make. Here we have two schools that both have tremendous things to offer me. What would be the deciding factor between BC and Iowa? A Gut feeling. Thatís all, not the coaches, players, degrees, or even football. It all really came down to where I truly felt at home. And Iím proud and extremely happy to announce that the gut feeling has led me to continue my career at the University of Iowa.
I'm sure that's what it comes down to for most recruits. A gut feeling. Everybody has so much to offer when you're a recruit. How do you really choose? A gut feeling.
On Nov. 25, Ekakitie wrote about his recruiting trip to Iowa.
It was honest. He wasn't overwhelmed by the campus, but liked that it was compact. Iowa didn't rank the best of his five final schools academically in head-to-head comparisons, but he liked the academic center.
But I really appreciate his candor in this passage:
Players/Community: The players here are great, they are all great kids, and made me feel welcome during my entire visit. It is obvious that they are all tightly-knit though. It would have been nice to see some of the players go their own ways and interact with more members of the community aside from the night life. Most people would consider the fact that the players spend a majority of their time together as a plus, and a good ďteam-buildingĒ tool, but I personally believe that making friends out of football would be beneficial to the players. As for the community, they just love you. It seems like all of Iowa city knows who you are in Iowa city, so you essentially are the stars of Iowa city.
And I like this just as much:
Football: Itís no secret that Iowa is graduating some key linemen this year, and those linemen are most likely going to end up getting drafted. So this leaves a space open for one of the incoming freshman linemen to play right away. Now Iím not saying that I am ready to play right away, because I honestly donít know if I am. Iím still a very young student of the game, and unlike many recruits, I realize this and accept this. But on the flip side, I want to do whatever it is that is going to make me the best player possible, so if that means possibly playing early, then Iím certainly all for it.
How about that? A kid admits he is unsure if he is ready to play college football immediately. Most aren't, but I think few realize it. At least when they're recruits. I think a lot of them come to that understanding quickly once they spend a few days in fall camp.
Here's what Ekakitie wrote after his visit to Boston College:
Players/Community: For my first time ever being on the east coast, I wasnít too impressed with the people. No offense to people from the east coast lol, but you guys are a little cold shouldered, whether you realize it or not. As the the BC players, they are for the most part level headed kids with goals. This is definitely not a bad group of kids to surround yourself with for the next four years. However, the tension between the teammates was there, I didnít ever comment on it, but I could definitely sense it. Now Iím willing to give them the benefit of the doubt especially after coming off a tough loss to FSU that same day, I can see where some of the players would be a little frustrated.
Ekakitie put that out there for everyone to see. Had he committed to Boston College, and he strongly considered that all the way to the end in his recruitment process, that would have come to Boston with him. And he knew it.
The player wrote this his unofficial visit to Iowa in September:
Before I go into the endless positives of Iowa, Iím going to say, I was a little disappointed with the location only because Iím very much a fan of the big city. However, after the visit, I could sort of envision myself being able to live in a small tight-knit community like that. It definitely brings an increased sense of security and a family-like atmosphere to Iowa City as a whole.
One of the greatest positives to the University of Iowa just might be their coaching staff led by Coach Ferentz. I was extremely impressed when they told me that every member of their staff has been there for about 10 years or more, and from the looks of it, none of them seemed like they planned on leaving any time soon. As a player, knowing that the coaches that recruited me would also be there for then next 4 or 5 years while Iím playing at their University is extremely reassuring, especially if these coaches are people that you feel like you can trust already.
Another positive that may intrigue a lot of dline prospects interested in attending Iowa is the fact that for the past 6 years (I think), every single senior that has started for them on the defensive line has gone on to be drafted to the NFL. So for those d linemen aspiring to a football career after College, Iowa is definitely the place to be in the Midwest. It seems like coach Rick Kaczenski† has a method to his madness, but it has worked so far.
The thing that most intrigued me (aside from their superior strength and conditioning program) was the kind of athletes they recruit at Iowa. Iowa may be one of the only schools that Iíve talked to that recruits undersized players. They have extended scholarship offers to a number of prospects that would have been considered to have less potential by other schools.
They have even extended scholarships to kids who were not being recruited at all, and the best part about this is that all of these players end up being great players in the end that are competing with the very best in the Big 1o. I actually got a chance to sit down and talk with a few of their linemen, and they made me feel right at home. I could just sense that a lot of these players had a chip on their shoulders. That combination of over-determined players, great coaching, and an overall exceptional football program is probably what has made the University of Iowa so successful so far.
Since freshmen football players are withheld from interviews by Ferentz, it will be a while before we media folks will get to interview this fellow. I look forward to the first time. Check out faithflex.com.
And, check out this video: