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December 7, 2011

Hawkeyes have Faith

After looking over a number of scholarship offers, four-star defensive lineman Faith Ekakitie has made his college decision. The 6-foot-3, 285-pound Ekakitie has committed to the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Class of 2012 prospect confirmed his choice with HawkeyeReport.com this evening and went into detail on how he arrived at his decision at his blog, FaithFlex.com, where he has posted several updates throughout the recruiting process.

"It's official," said Ekakitie via text message. "I committed to Iowa."

Ekakitie, who attends Lake Forest Academy in Illinois, had narrowed his choices down to five schools in recent weeks - Iowa, Boston College, Northwestern, Georgia Tech, and Oregon. In announcing his commitment tonight, the four-star prospect explained how he went about narrowing things down and eliminating his other finalists.

"This past week and a half was probably the most stressing, unhappy week of recruiting for me," wrote Ekakitie. "I can't really speak for everyone else that was involved, but I know that it was definitely not a walk in the park for me. As some of you may know, my final list of five schools were Oregon, Boston College, Northwestern, Iowa, and Georgia Tech. All five great schools in their own ways."

"So here I am, thinking of different ways to eliminate a couple of these schools after I had taken my fifth official visit to Oregon," he continued. "The visit to Oregon definitely had its effects on me, and at one point I thought that there may actually be a strong possibility of me committing there. The players and atmosphere really had me captivated. However, while I was on my visit to Oregon, Coach Azz had let me know there was only one spot left on the d-line in regards to scholarships. Basically, if I wanted the spot, it was all mine, otherwise if someone else committed first, they would have to take that prospects commitment. And of course the worst happened after about a week and I got a call saying that the spot was no longer available. Buh Bye Oregon."

"So we are down to four schools now. And a couple weeks after, I'm thinking about what a great fit Northwestern is for me as an athlete. Not only was it near a big city like I wanted, but it was also still close to Lake Forest. I had obviously developed a strong support base in Lake Forest and I felt extremely comfortable with going to a school in the area again. There really wasn't much downside to Northwestern at all. In fact, I'll admit, it was definitely a family favorite. Unfortunately after submitting my grades and ACT scores to the admissions office at NU, I was informed that they would not be able to admit me to school. My GPA was approximately .2 below where it needed to be for them to admit me into school. Now was this a heart breaker? Most definitely, but it also worked as a wakeup call to me. If I had pushed myself a bit harder in school, I would have been admitted to one of the most prestigious schools in America. However, I will not dwell on that and of course I have to move on."

"Now there are three left. Believe it or not, having Oregon and NU eliminate them from my list probably helped me more than it hurt me. My visit to Georgia Tech was probably my favorite visit by far. Let's all be real with ourselves, what 18 year old kid wouldn't enjoy a visit to the city of Atlanta? I for sure did. I felt at home in Atlanta, and also strongly considered this school. The entire coaching staff treated me well and they were all extremely welcoming! However, after a lot of deliberation with my family and parents, it was decided that there would be too many distractions within Atlanta for me to fully focus on the task at hand. Of course I did not think I would be distracted, but after looking within myself and realizing the type of student-athlete I was, I realized that my parents were very right and only had my best interest in mind. At that point, I let the whole dream of G-Tech go."

"Now, we are down to two schools, Boston College and Iowa. Boston College was also a family favorite. It is near a great city. The good thing about BC is that it is right outside of the actual city. So the whole concept of being distracted by the city life is pretty much negated. And as for Iowa City, well… It isn't a very big city to begin with so distraction was not even a concern there. Another positive about BC is there different values instilled within the college and team itself. Being a Jesuit school, BC embodied many of the same values that I had grown up around thanks to my wonderful parents. And for my family and I, this was definitely a check. Iowa however, even though not being a Jesuit school is built on very solid family-like values. This was a plus in my books."

"Boston College offered me an opportunity to compete for playing time very early in my college career due to a lack of linemen. Iowa also offered this exact same opportunity. When looking at academics, BC offers an education rival to many of the Ivy League schools. Gosh, the area that BC is located in is just a pool of education in general being surrounded by schools like Harvard, MIT, and BU. When it came to what Iowa had to offer me academically, they boasted the largest teaching college in the nation for kinesiology, an area of interest for me."

"At this point you can see where this decision would become extremely difficult for me to make. Here we have two schools that both have tremendous things to offer me. What would be the deciding factor between BC and Iowa? A gut feeling. That's all, not the coaches, players, degrees, or even football. It all really came down to where I truly felt at home. And I'm proud and extremely happy to announce that the gut feeling has led me to continue my career at the University of Iowa."

Ekakitie is the thirteenth verbal commitment for the Iowa coaching staff in the Class of 2012. He is the third four-star prospect that the Hawkeyes have landed from the state of Illinois, joining defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson and offensive lineman Ryan Ward, and the fifth overall for Iowa from the Land of Lincoln.

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