|High schoolQuince Orchard|
Ankrah attended the same high school as NU defensive ends coach John Papuchis, a former Quince Orchard quarterback. Ankrah said he even played on the same basketball team with the 30-year-old Husker assistant's brother two years ago. The coincidental hometown connection certainly gave Nebraska a recruiting edge with Ankrah and may prove beneficial again in the future.
"Genetically, he's just gifted. He's got natural instincts. ... The best part about Jason, on top of all the physical tools is that he's very humble. He's the best practice player I've ever coached. Every day he practiced like a Division I football player." - Quince Orchard coach David Mencarini
Ankrah, a speedy edge rusher, is a Rivals.com top 250 recruit and the fourth-best prospect in the state. Scout.com ranks him as a four-star recruit and a top 25 defensive end nationally.
Ankrah didn't step onto the football field for an organized game until his freshman year. Obviously, he figured things out quickly, considering he tallied 6.5 sacks and 14 quarterback hurries as a senior. Ankrah even played sparingly as a second tight end. In December, he participated in Maryland's statewide all-star game, the Crab Bowl, and recorded a safety. Ankrah chose Nebraska over final contenders Maryland and Michigan.
A redshirt year would certainly benefit Ankrah, even though the departure of three senior defensive ends opens spots in the playing rotation. Adding more weight and developing his strength will only complement his quickness.
Originally published Feb. 5, 2009 in the Omaha World-Herald
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