Arnold Ebiketie knew that he had the talent and the work ethic to play in the NFL.
He dominated at Temple University for four years, leading the team in tackles for loss, sacks, and forced fumbles in his redshirt junior season in 2020, but didn't get the NFL recognition of other edge players rushers across the country.
Ebiketie knew that he would have to play in a tougher conference than Temple's AAC to get the league's attention, so he transferred to Penn State University ahead of the 2021 college season.
And In one year, he put the NFL world on notice.
Ebiketie led Penn State with 9.5 sacks and ranked second in the Big Ten with 18 tackles for loss. He shot up draft boards, and the Falcons traded up in the second round to snag him with the 38th overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft.
"It was always about controlling what I can control," Ebiketie told Atlantafalcons.com on paying attention to mock drafts before Penn State. "What I can control is putting the work in and going out there and performing every Saturday, so I didn't really pay attention to all the antics. It was about me doing what I have to do. So to be here today was just a blessing."
Outside of football, Ebiketie was also a star on the basketball court. He has viral highlights of him dunking on players much like first-round pick Drake London. London said yesterday that he was confident that he was among the top three basketball players on the team, without even looking. Whether Ebiketie is in that group will have to be seen.
"We can get it going," Ebiketie said of a one-on-one game with London. "I still got it."
As for his number, Ebiketie was hoping to stick with 17, as he wore for Penn State in College, but was disappointed to find that receiver Olamide Zaccheus currently occupies the number. Regardless, Ebiketie is looking to hit the ground running as soon as he gets to Atlanta, whatever the number is.
"[I'm] someone that's ready to buy into the culture," Ebiketie said. "I'm ready to work. I'm excited I can't wait."
And Ebiketie already has a self-proclaimed nickname for himself which can be found at the beginning of his social media handles.
"I'm the doctor of the pass rush," Ebiketie joked with a smile.