Ansah to get Y. back to draft relevancy


The NFL Draft is coming up next month, and BYU will be losing one of its best players: defensive end Ziggy Ansah. But in some ways, that couldn’t be better news for the Cougars.

Ansah is sure to get BYU back in the draft business.

Ziggy Ansah, AP photo

While BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall has often proclaimed football is fifth on his priority list, that makes it difficult to attract players with NFL aspirations. Ansah, though, is expected to be selected among the top 15. Some predict he’ll be in the top five. That’s especially good news for BYU since it hasn’t had a player drafted since 2010.

It’s a tough balance for Mendenhall to maintain. On one hand, he says spiritual development, academic achievement, character and service are his first four priorities, followed by being “really, really good at football.”

On the other hand, will aspiring NFL stars — even top LDS ones — go along with that priority list?

Next year, BYU’s Kyle Van Noy is a near-certain bet to be drafted, too.

So things are picking up.

One thing is clear: BYU needs to start sending more players to the NFL if it wants to play for the national championship – a goal Mendenhall stated when the Cougars went independent. A big selling point in recruiting is whether your program leads to an NFL career. But in the last 10 years, 12 players have been drafted from BYU, five of them in the last five years.

By comparison, in the past decade rival Utah has had 25 players drafted, 13 in the last five years.

So while Mendenhall’s priority list is laudable, attracting the best LDS athletes will be tough if BYU can’t get them to the NFL.

Thus, this year’s draft will be a welcome one for Mendenhall. Ansah will be getting BYU back where it needs to be: producing good people who can also play on Sundays.

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  1. bobbo

    Shouldn’t matter where a prospect goes to school. If he has the talent, ability, and drive he will make it to the NFL regardless of where he attends school. Exposure helps but if he is lighting it up each week he will get exposure.

    • Nate

      You’re 100% right. The problem is that BYU isn’t getting the prospects simply because they haven’t had NFL draftees as often as other teams. That’s the catch 22 of the whole system. You need NFL draftees to get more NFL prospects.

  2. bublnet

    With ESPN, big games like Texas, ND, Wisc etc., yes this is going to pick up. Plus a lot of non-lds talent is showing up saying, “I’ll gladly come here to get out of what it’s like back home.” For a lot of these players it is about more than football.

  3. Wayne Rout

    Bronco has said he does not want 4 or 5 star players. They are too hard to manage. It’s best to avoid them or drive them out of the program. You might get lucky occasionally when a first round draft pick that you never recruited walks into the program, but it won’t happen often.

  4. Bluto

    Your stats are a tad misleading, as 26 players have actually signed NFL contracts since Bronco joined BYU in ’03.

    You ignoring the Free Agents from BYU, which made NFL rosters, seems rather strange and convienent.

    Things will pick up now because of BYU’s return to exposure.
    Every game on ESPN and/or BYU-TV, is already paying dividends.

    Living in the abyss of the mtn. tv deal was terrible to be sure. And as BYU’s exposure ascends and Utah’s descends, BYU will once again resume it’s rightful place.

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