Ickey Ekwonu is a coach’s “dream come true”


When new Panthers tackle Ickey Ekwonu describes his game using words like “violence, physicality,” it’s a football coach’s dream.

But the things that make Ekwonu special transcend his ability to flatten defenders, and when you get coaches talking about them, you start to realize why they love him so much.

As Ekwonu was in the green room in Las Vegas, waiting to hear his name called by the Panthers with the sixth overall pick to begin his professional career, he asked for a favor. So he sat down next to his former high school coach at Providence Day, Adam Hastings, and asked to see his iPhone.

“We’re sitting here at the NFL Draft, we’re in Las Vegas, he’s about to go to the NFL, and he asks me if we can FaceTime my son, A.J.,” Hastings said. “I mean, that’s the kind of person he is. This is his biggest moment, and all he wanted to do was talk to my son.

“For a kid of that character, who cares about his community, to come back home is a special thing. He’s going to flourish in this city, because it’s his city.”

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