Emil Ekiyor is the first lineman I've scouted at the high school level. I've evaluated quarterbacks, I've evaluated running backs and wide receivers, and I've evaluated linebackers and defensive backs, and it's hard to think of a player that had a more distinct advantage than Ekiyor. When Ekiyor announced his commitment last week, I was thrilled to hear about another addition to the Indianapolis to Ann Arbor pipeline, but I can't say I knew exactly what to expect from the 6'3", 340lb Junior. While Indianapolis has had an abundance of riches at the skill positions in the past few years, it's been a while since we had a dominant offensive lineman. That wait is over now.
In Ekiyor's first game back after a four-game stint on the sideline due to injury, the nation's third-ranked offensive lineman in the 2018 class absolutely manhandled his competition. Ekiyor lines up most of his snaps at Left Tackle for the Cathedral Fighting Irish, and the push he got for the Irish run game was almost unfair. He missed on a few early blocks, but most of the confusion stemmed from communication issues on blocking assignments, which I can only attribute to rust after sitting out for a month. Ekiyor gave up one sack on the evening, but clarified after the game that it was a breakdown in pass protection from a puller that never showed up. He played every offensive snap that I saw and showed almost no fatigue towards the end of the game, even after a few demoralizing turnovers in the fourth quarter.
All in all, Ekiyor is a special talent. He wasn't going up against any elite competition (lined up regularly against defensive ends that were more than 100 pounds lighter), but his consistency was impressive. His mechanics are not perfect, but close; the only real criticism that I could offer is that he's not getting as much separation as I'd like to see from his pass protection "punch." He's not getting beat to the outside and he's too big for ends to cut back in, so apart from that one small adjustment I can't say there are any glaring issues I'd bring up. He's quick enough to play tackle against high school competition, but I'd put my money on a move to the interior once he gets on a college campus. 6'3" is a bit generous, and his weight fits the guard spot better.
Ekiyor raved about his visit to Ann Arbor, saying multiple times that it "felt like home" and was a "perfect fit." He's headed back up for the October 22ndmatchup against Illinois, and as of right now doesn't have plans to visit elsewhere this season. Ekiyor told me that he regularly keeps in touch with Tim Drevno, Tyrone Wheatley, and Jim Harbaugh, but other suitors have come knocking as well. He claimed offers from USC, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Florida State, Auburn, Penn State, Texas A&M, and Ole Miss, but said the only schools still regularly keeping in touch were Stanford, Georgia, and Tennessee.
While early commitments and late flips have become more of a trend in recent years, Ekiyor reiterated multiple times that he's solid on Michigan right now.
"I'm not thinking about any other school right now and I plan to keep it that way," he said over the weekend. "I'm 100% committed and I just loved everything about (Ann Arbor) . . . everything seemed perfect for me."
Michigan fans have a lot to be excited about with Emil, and it will be interesting to see how his recruiting process continues as more schools throw their hats in the ring.