Ekanem chosen for Holiday Bowl
Cornerback to play in nationally televised game
Pre-Season All-American in Dec. 17 All-Star game
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s Nick Ekanem has been invited to participate in the USA Football Holiday Bowl in December.
The nationally televised event will be played in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on Monday, December 17.
The four day, three night affair is during Dec. 14-17. It includes several special programs and the USA Small College Football Awards Banquet on the eve of the game.
The Holiday Bowl teams will be comprised of senior standouts and all-stars from the National Christian College Athletic Association, the NAIA* and the United States Collegiate Athletic Association.
The NCCAA has teams from the NAIA and both Divisions II and III from the **NCAA.
SAGU is a dual, Division I member in both the NAIA and the NCCAA. The former has about 300 colleges, the latter around 115.
The game will spotlight the skills of national players in a contest played at the new Virginia Beach Sportsplex Stadium. It is the home of the Virginia Destroyers, the sixth and newest team from the United Football League.
Ekanem (Richmond, Tx / B.F. Terry HS) was a Pre-Season NCCAA All-American selection. He garnered All-American honors two years ago with The Sporting News.
A 5-foot-10, 195-pound cornerback, Ekanem (EE-KAHN-um) led the NAIA in passes defensed as a freshman. He had 19 that season, including 6 interceptions.
His closing speed, strength and knack for separating receivers from the ball have made him a high-risk decision for opposing quarterbacks.
With two picks already in this young season, the former transfer from Arkansas State University (NCAA Division I) has twelve career thefts.
He missed parts of his sophomore and junior seasons with injuries, but has fully recovered. (See career statistics below)
His presence on the edge this season has led opposing passers to go after freshman cornerback Shakeem Taylor (Mesquite, Tx / Poteet HS). Taylor's four interceptions in two games, one he ran back 100-yards for a touchdown on Saturday, may force QB's to reconsider.
All four of Taylor's picks have come in the red zone, a trait Ekanem is also known for.
The announcement was officially made during SAGU's season opener against #18 ranked Bethany College. During the SAGU Sports Live broadcast, color analyst Tim Roberts broke the news on the air on September 1.
The Lions lost a late lead in a 13-12 setabck to the Swedes.
Ekanem was an All-State (Class 4A) player for the Terry High School “Rangers” in Rosenberg, Texas, a suburb in the Houston, Sugar Land, and Baytown metropolitan area.
Last year the Lions had two representatives play in the game; wide receiver David Howard (Dayton, Tx / Dayton HS) and defensive tackle Jon Hulett (Corrigan, Tx / Corrigan HS).
*National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)
**National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
Nick Ekanem – By the Numbers
|Season||Gms||Ints||Br/Ups||PD's||Solo Tkls||Assisted||Total Tackles|
Key: Games Played. Ints – Interceptions. Br/Up – Passes Broken Up.
PD – Passes Defensed. Solo Tkls – Unassisted Tackles.
Note: Nick wore #22 as a freshman, then switched to #5, in honor of his brother, Mike Ekanem. Mike is the Strength and Conditioning Coach with the San Antonio Spurs and Stars.