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Ekeler Doing What It Takes

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Posted 07 February 2008 - 03:22 PM

First-year Nebraska linebackers coach Mike Ekeler will be the first one to tell you he wanted Boone Terre (Mo.) North Country linebacker Will Compton as bad as any recruit in the 2008 signing class.

The 6-foot-2, 230 pound Compton was committed to Nebraska for quite some time, but he nearly considered making a late switch to either Illinois or Missouri.

Linebackers coach Mike Ekeler talked about his crazy tattoo stunt that helped him land linebacker Will Compton on Wednesday.
Ekeler said on Wednesday he wanted to do whatever he could to keep the four-star Compton, so that's why he did something that may be a recruiting first.

Ekeler got a customized tattoo of Compton's last name put on his arm. He joked and said the tattoo was only temporary, but it will stay on his arm for about a month.

Ekeler said defensive coordinator Carl Pelini acted as his wingman on the in-home visit and set up the story to Compton about why he got the tattoo.

"(Carl Pelini) said 'yeah, we were driving down 27th street, and (Ekeler) saw this two for one tattoo special, so we pulled over there,' " Ekeler said. "I said 'I wanted to get this because I told you if you didn't sign, I'd go up in the North end zone and jump off (the ledge), but I have little kids at home, so that wouldn't be right, so I figured I'd get this.' I rolled up my sleeve and said 'this will remind me if you don't sign with us you are making the biggest mistake of your life. It will make me sick every time I look in the mirror.' "

Ekeler's temporary tattoo of Compton's last name on his arm worked, as in the end he decided to stick with the Huskers.

Ekeler joked that NU had to do whatever they could to get an edge in Compton's recruiting battle down the stretch.

"We were playing catch-up through this whole deal," Ekeler said. "We were going against Coach (Ron) Zook, who had been Will's first offer and who had been recruiting him the whole year, and then obviously Missouri who had a really quality season. Both those schools were pretty much in his back yard, so we kind of had our backs up against the wall and we really wanted the guy.

"He's a quality, quality player and we had built a neat relationship. I wanted to do something kind of fun, so he'd remember our last visit. It was funny. His parents were rolling and Will was dying laughing."

Word of Ekeler's tattoo stunt traveled fast on recruiting message boards, and the first-year Husker assistant coach said he heard from quite a few different people about it.

"A lot of people and my friends kind of joked around about it," Ekeler said. "I didn't think much of it. I was just kind of having fun and it's just kind of taken on a life of its own."

There are offensive geniuses up and down the block, some real and some like Dan Hawkins, who either can't find a quarterback or doesn't recognize one.

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