Gophers welcome back seven defensive linemen who saw action in at least nine games from last season
Minnesota hosts UNLV at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29
MarQueis Gray repeats as Bronko Nagurski Award winner
Golden Gophers 30, Rebels 27
2014 • JUNIOR SEASON: Made his first career start against Eastern Illinois, but suffered a season-ending injury during the game • received a medical hardship from the NCAA and has two years of eligibility (2015-16 and 2016-17) remaining.
2013 • SOPHOMORE SEASON: Played in 13 games • made 19 tackles, including one tackle-for-loss. Game-by-Game: Saw action against UNLV and recorded four tackles • assisted on one tackle at New Mexico State • played against Western Illinois, San Jose State, Iowa and at Michigan but did not record any statistics • made three tackles, including one for a loss, at Northwestern • notched one tackle against Nebraska and two at Indiana • assisted on two tackles against Penn State and Wisconsin • made one tackle at Michigan State • assisted on three tackles against Syracuse.
2012 • FRESHMAN SEASON: Played in all 13 games • recorded 14 tackles and 4.0 tackles-for-loss • named team's Outstanding Defensive Freshman of the Year. Game-by-Game: Made Minnesota and collegiate debut at UNLV and recorded two tackles • made one solo tackle against New Hampshire and against Western Michigan • registered two solo tackles, which included one tackle-for-loss, and recovered a fumble in win against Syracuse • assisted on one tackle at Iowa • made one solo tackle vs. Northwestern and vs. Purdue • recorded two tackles, including one for a loss, vs. Michigan • made one solo tackle vs. Michigan State • notched two tackles, including one for a loss vs. Texas Tech.
HIGH SCHOOL: A 2011 graduate of Lewisville High School • earned second-team All-District 8-5A honors as an offensive lineman as a senior • was a second-team All-District 8-5A defensive line choice following his junior season • tallied 30 tackles, three tackles-for-loss, one sack and three forced fumbles in 2010 • recorded 24 total stops, 2.5 tackles-for-loss, 0.5 sacks and one forced fumble as a senior • coached by Dick Olin.
PERSONAL: Born March 10, 1994 • son of Joel and Edith Ekpe • younger brother, Hendrick, is a defensive lineman for the Gophers • has already earned his degree in business and marketing education • working on his master's degree in human resource development.