A few recruiting analysts believe Emil Ekiyor is bound for Big Ten Country. He disagrees.
“It’s not accurate,” the offensive lineman from Cathedral High (Indianapolis, Ind.) said flatly, referring to the prognostications that he’ll end playing college football in the midwest.
Of course, anything could happen. Ekiyor, who is rated a 4-star guard by 247 Sports, just finished his sophomore season and won’t enroll in college until 2018. However, he already has nine scholarship offers and a leader for his services.
“I would say Tennessee,” Ekiyor told SEC Country. “Just because the coaches, I have a great relationship with them. I know the program is in good hands with Butch Jones. I just really like the setup there and everything. The whole academic setup there is really good.”
That’s not all Tennessee has to offer. A chance to play in the SEC is a big draw for Ekiyor.
“I think the SEC is a totally different level,” the 6-foot-3, 285-pound offensive lineman said. “I would much rather play in the SEC than the Big Ten, but if a school in the Big Ten fits me then I’ll have to consider that also.”
Ekiyor visited Tennessee for the UGA game on Oct. 10. It was an exciting game as the Vols overcame a 21-point deficit to beat the Bulldogs 38-31.
“I love Tennessee,” Ekiyor said. “That’s my favorite place so far. I love everything about it.”
Ekiyor visited Clemson last weekend. The Tigers beat Wake Forest 33-13. That wasn’t quite the same.
“It didn’t have the same feel as a Tennessee,” Ekiyor said.
Ekiyor said he plans to narrow his list of schools soon. He has scholarship offers from Tennessee, UGA, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Louisville, N.C. State, Toledo and South Florida.
Kentucky could be worrisome for Tennessee’s coaches. The Wildcats are in the SEC and closer to Ekiyor’s hometown than the Vols.
“When I went for camp, I really enjoyed it,” Ekiyor said of a summer visit to Lexington, Ky. “But this year’s games, I mean it was tough. I know they’re going in the right direction. I like the facilities and everything, but they’re still like not there yet.”
Ekiyor has plenty of time to think about recruiting. Now, he’s focused on improving his game.
“I think it is very important to lead by example,” he said. “You can’t just talk and lead and try to get people to do the right thing if you’re not doing the right thing. I just take pride in that.”
Tennessee’s coaches hope he carries that attitude to Knoxville.