For the second straight day Purdue has picked up a commitment, and it comes at one of the "positions of need" I pointed out on my recruiting list a few weeks ago. Danny Ezechukwu is a 6'3" 224 pound tight end from Arabia Mountain High School in Lithonia, Georgia. He was not a highly recruited player, receiving interest only from Iowa State and Northwestern in terms of BCS programs.
Recruiting Service Rankings:
Rivals: Not yet rated
247 Sports: No. 64 Nationally at his position, No. 129 overall in Georgia
ESPN: Not yet rated
The first thing I thought of with the last name was kick-blocking specialist Bobby Iwuchukwu, which has a similar pronunciation. He blocked a school record six kicks in his career from 2002-2005 and bounced around some NFL rosters for a few years.
Danny could be our lowest rated recruit at this point, so it is not one that is going to move the needle nationally. That is not to say he isn't a good player. So far his team is 1-5 on the season and he is playing defensive end and outside linebacker in addition to tight end. His school is one of the harder ones out there to find season stats, so I have no idea what he has done on the field. There is a highlight reel out there thanks to Hudl.
His highlight video shows him more as a downfield blocker and as a rush end than anything else. Both are needed right now. It seems like if he stays on offense he could be in a role similar to Sterling Carter as a blocking tight end or maybe bulk up to be an offensive tackle. On defense, he could be a good speed end, especially if he is used to being a linebacker at times.
Some of what I did find emphasized his toughness:
"It definitely gives them extra points because I would like to be next on that list," Ezechukwu said. "I know that the coaches are putting out top-notch talent so if I do go there it helps my chances of getting to the NFL."
Ezechukwu is a good pass rusher that plays the run better than the average prospect at his position. He will benefit from a college weight room and could be a steal if he continues to fly under BCS school's radar.
I like a few things there. First, if he was considering Duke obviously academics are a priority. Second, he is willing to listen and learn, doing what it takes to get on the field. That is the way that these lower-rated guys see the field. It seems like he is a bit of a project as an unheralded recruit, but let's welcome him to the Boilermaker family.