In advance of the start of the NFL Draft on Thursday in New York, BYU's Ziggy Ansah and other top NFL prospects participated in a full day of activities Wednesday throughout Manhatten.
Ansah started his day at the NFL Network, appearing on NFL AM at approximately 7:45 a.m. ET. He joined Barkevious Minga of LSU during his turn on the set of the nationally televised program. The prospects invited to attend the draft by the NFL appeared on the program.
From there Ansah and 23 other top NFL prospects went to Chelsea Waterside Park to take part in the NFL Play 60 Youth Football Festival. A great event in which more than 800 students from the New York and New Jersey area will participate over two days, the festival kicked off at 10 a.m. with the NFL prospects taking to the field with many local youth from grades three to nine. After a one-hour clinic with the kids, a press conference/announcement took place with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and others before the players met with the media.
The announcement featured the news of a nationwide program launched with a $1.5 million grant from the NFL Foundation. USA Football's Heads Up Football program will have more than 900 youth football leagues across the United States representing more than 200,000 players and 30,000 coaches nationwide, all committed to the health and safety of their young players by adopting Heads Up Football, the new USA Football pilot program for the 2013 season dedicated to making the game better and safer.
After the announcement, Ansah met with the media for a full 30 minutes as a popular choice among the media as they interviewed the draft prospects. Ansah represented himself and BYU well as he took on all questions from everyone from New York media to the BBC.
The two-day NFL Play 60 Football Festival continued all day Wednesday and starts up again on Thursday. In addition to Ansah and the NFL Draft prospects, current and former NFL players will also participate over the two days. Among some of those on hand during Ansah's time at the Festival were Deion Sanders, Lavar Arrington, Tony Casillas and former NFL coach and current NFL Network analyst Steve Mariucci.
Ansah next made an appearance on top of the Radio City Music Hall marquee as New York City passersby and media got a look at these top prospects one day ahead of the draft at the site of the annual event.
Keeping busy, Ansah headed to Wall Street to help ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. A little photo/video time with Nike and a private reception with NFLPA wrapped up his evening. During the NFLPA reception, Ansah participated in a Google+ Hangout for fans to watch.
Thursday Ansah is visiting the Kravis Children's Hospital at the Mount Sinai Medical Center among other activies prior to the main event which will include a red carpet arrival prior to the 8 p.m. ET start of the 2013 NFL Draft. BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall comes to town on Thursday as well to join Ansah and members of his family attending the draft.
Check out a photo gallery below of many of the activities that took place on Wednesday. Follow BYU on twitter @BYUCougars to keep up to date on the latest happenings in New York City.
More on Heads Up
USA Football's Heads Up Football program promotes a positive youth football experience and advances player safety by providing coaching education and teaching resources that benefit players, parents and coaches. Heads Up Football aims to take the head out of the game. USA Football is the official youth football development partner of the NFL and its 32 teams. Seventy-eight former NFL players also will participate in the program as Heads Up Football Ambassadors, working with youth leagues to reinforce the Heads Up message. Parents can help ensure their youth football players are participating in a better and safer brand of football by visiting www.usafootball.com. Youth leagues can register online for Heads Up Football and to have their coaches certified.
“As chairman of the NFL Foundation and as a parent of two young football players, I believe the Heads Up Football program is essential in making the game we all love safer for youth players,” said CHARLOTTE JONES ANDERSON, Dallas Cowboys executive vice president and chief brand officer. “The program is also important for parents, providing resources for their kids to play the game safely and properly. The NFL Foundation is pleased to be supporting this important program.”
In addition to the NFL and NFL Foundation, organizations that support Heads Up Football include the NCAA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Federation of State High School Associations, American Football Coaches Association and Sports and Fitness Industry Association.