In any other family, Ikem Ekwonu’s ascension to being one of the top prospects in the 2022 NFL draft — and perhaps all the way to the top — might provide years worth of family boasting.
And it’s not as if the family of the mauling, massive North Carolina State offensive tackle isn’t proud of Ekwonu and what potentially lies ahead for him. It’s just that in this family of overachievers, his level of accomplishment is essentially the standard.
Ekwonu’s father, Tagbo (aka “TJ”), was a college basketball player at University of Nigeria, earned his medical degree and is now practicing family medicine outside of Charlotte.
His mother, Amaka, ran track in Nigeria and holds records in the hurdles and the 200 meters. She first became an accountant before helping run her husband’s office.
Older sister Adaora is in medical school at the prestigious University of Chicago, perhaps considering going into psychiatry.
Oldest brother Chike is a 2D animator who has worked on Netflix shows you might have seen — “Paradise PD,” “Brickleberry” and “Rick and Morty” among them.
And Ikem’s twin brother, Osita, is a fellow business major who plays football at Notre Dame.
Ikem — short for Ikemefuna, which means “my effort will not be in vain” — is merely the latest astounding family success story to come along.
“Family of overachievers,” Ekwonu said, flashing a wide, proud smile. “That’s a good way to put it.”
As he heads to next week’s NFL scouting combine, Ekwonu at least remains in the discussion to be the first pick in the draft. If his history is any indication, we can’t rule out that possibility.
North Carolina State OT Ikem Ekwonu (79) pulls to block during during — and you had better not get in his way. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)
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