American football offensive tackles Ikemefuna “Ickey” Ekwonu is currently playing for the Carolina Panthers of the NFL (NFL). Born in Nigeria,
the defensive lineman was a unanimous All-American at North Carolina State University in 2021, when he was also voted the Atlantic Coast Conference’s finest blocker that year. The Panthers chose Ekwonu in the sixth round of the NFL Draft in 2022.
A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Ekwonu attended Providence Day School and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
He chose North Carolina State over Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia and West Virginia because of the school’s football program.
His 37 pancake blocks led the team and he was awarded to the FWAA Freshman All-America squad. He started his second season at left guard.
Ekwonu returned to left tackle for the season and led the Wolfpack with 50 pancake blocks and 22 knockdowns, earning second-team All-ACC honours at both guard and tackle.
Pro Football Focus and Sporting News both selected Ekwonu as a preseason All-ACC player in 2021. He won the ACC’s Jacobs Blocking Trophy and was a unanimous All-American.
Meet Tagbo ‘T.J.’ Ekwonu and Amaka Ekwonu
Parents of Ikem Ekwonu are Amaka and Tagbo Ekwonu. Both of them are Nigerian citizens. Ikem’s father relocated to Charlotte from Nigeria in the 1990s and currently works as a family physician. Ike’s mother,
Amaka was a high school track star who came to the United States in the 1980s and now oversees T.J.’s family-owned business. A graduate of the University of Nigeria College of Medicine in Nsukka, his father works at Eastowne Family Medicine.