Gophers welcome back seven defensive linemen who saw action in at least nine games from last season
2014 • SOPHOMORE SEASON: Played in 13 games, starting one • made 14 tackles, including 3.0 for a loss (1.5 sacks). Game-by-Game: Made five tackles, including one tackle-for-loss, against Eastern Illinois • totaled two tackles, including one sack, against Middle Tennessee • played at TCU • talled three tackles, one tackle-for-loss and .5 sack against San Jose State • played at Michigan, against Northwestern and against Purdue, but did not record any statistics • tallied two tackles at Illinois • assisted on one tackle against Iowa • saw action against Ohio State, at Nebraska and at Wisconsin • made one tackle against Missouri.
2013 • FRESHMAN SEASON: Played in 10 games • made 10 tackles, including one tackle-for-loss • named Outstanding Defensive Freshman of the Year. Game-by-Game: Made his Minnesota and collegiate debut against UNLV and recorded two tackles • registered two solo tackles at New Mexico State • played against Western Illinois, but did not record any statistics • made one tackle against San Jose State • made one tackle against Iowa and at Northwestern • competed against Nebraska • played against Penn State and Wisconsin, but did not record any statistics • made three solo tackles, including one tackle-for-loss against Syracuse.
HIGH SCHOOL: Attended Lewisville High School • was a three-year letterwinner • earned first-team All-District 8-5A in 2012 after being named honorable mention in 2010 • tallied 24 tackles, 2.5 sacks and recorded one fumble recovery as a senior in 2012 • made 26 tackles, 3.5 sacks and forced two fumbles as a junior • coached by Greg Miller • enrolled at the University of Minnesota in January 2013 and participated in spring practice • Scout.com listed him as a two-star recruit and as the No. 123 player at his position • Rivals.com named him a three-star prospect.
PERSONAL: Born June 30, 1995 • son of Joel and Edith Ekpe • older brother, Scott, is a defensive lineman for the Gophers.