Taraj Ekie is one of the best players from the Orlando, Florida area in the Class of 2030.
The 4-foot, 60-pound Ekie, who attends Metro West Elementary, is a versatile player that works as a running back and defensive back.
Ekie has played for these teams so far: Orange County Outlaws Flag (Fall 17’), Ocoee Under Armour Under The Lights K-12 Seminoles (Winter 17’-18’), Florida Elite Track & Field (Spring/Summer 18’) and Orange County Outlaws 8U Mitey Mites (currently).
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During his outstanding youth sports career, Ekie already received plenty of recognition such as: 2017 Under Armour Ocoee Under The Lights Grades K-2 League championship, 2018 Under Armour Under The Lights Grades K-2 national championship runner-ups, and a personal record in the long jump at 8’1” (track and field) .
Ekie is humbled for the opportunities to showcase his skills against the best of the best.
“I don’t really care, I just want to win,” Ekie said. “It was fun to go against great players and I learned a lot.”
No matter the opponent, on each snap Ekie is determined to give it his all.
Ekie is going all out.
The motor is always at full throttle whenever Ekie steps between the lines.
“I want to go out, have fun and make big plays,” Ekie said. “I love to make interceptions and to score touchdowns. It feels really good to hear the fans and my family cheer for me.”
Ekie has great passion and energy whenever he’s on the gridiron. Ekie tells why he enjoys the game of football so much.
“The thing I love most about playing football would be the big hits and playing against older kids,” Ekie said. “I love to prove that I can play with kids that are bigger and older than me.”
Ekie has learned many valuable lessons from playing football that he applies to his everyday life.
The main one is applying perspective to all situations.
“Football has taught me so much about life,” Ekie said. “To pay attention to the small things and learn from mistakes.”
Ekie recalls his favorite football memory.
“Scoring three touchdowns against the Daytona Dolphins in one game, but one got called back because of a holding call,” Ekie said. “It was a great game that I’ll never forget.”
Curtaveyous Epps has coached Ekie for two years with the Orange County Outlaws and Florida Elite track club.
Epps explains the best parts of Ekie’s game.
“The best parts of his game are he’s shifty and has great vision. At cornerback he can play off and also bump and run. His ability to pull up to make plays if very impressive especially for his age,” Epps said. “I like how physical he is, he runs hard and he has great awareness.”
Ekie takes his role as one of the leaders on the team very seriously. Ekie makes sure he’s a daily positive influence on his peers.
“I try to be a good teammate by having everyone’s back on the field at all times,” Ekie said. “The best advice I give is that you need to pay attention to the snap counts so you know what’s going on.”
Epps adds that Ekie is one of those consummate teammates that every squad needs to be successful.
“Taraj is very vocal, he seeks perfection,” Epps said. “He gets upset with himself when makes mistakes. He leads by example, other kids gravitate toward his work ethic.”
Ekie is appreciative of having amazing male role models that are supportive.
“My coaches have helped make me a better player and person,” Ekie said. “They have helped me to learn from my mistakes to get better. They tell me to be confident and work smarter not harder.”
Epps is an advocate of Ekie’s capabilities.
“I remember a game last season, Taraj rushed for two touchdowns and snatched three flags,” Epps said. “It was definitely one of the highlights of the season. He was a major factor to our success.”
In addition to making clutch plays, Ekie also has a high level of football IQ as well.
Ekie has excellent football awareness that puts him in position to thrive.
“He’s a smart kid, very gifted you know it when he speaks. He has very a very high football IQ,” Epps said. “He demonstrates it by making good decisions on the field.”
Ekie is on the grind to perfect and hone his craft in any way possible.
“He works diligently at perfecting his game,” Epps said. “He runs the hill and uses ladders to improve his footwork.
Epps explains why he compares Ekie to this player.
“His game reminds me of Willis McGahee at the University of Miami. He runs hard, and has great vision,” Epps said. “He ran a kid over in practice a couple of weeks ago. I was proud and thought it was kind of funny but I couldn’t show my excitement too much. I have to coach all my boys.”
Meanwhile, Ekie patterns his play after these standouts.
“I look up to Devonta Freeman and Tyrann Mathieu because they play my positions and are playmakers,” Ekie said. “They’re always a threat when they’re on the field and that’s what I want to be.”
Ekie is constantly striving for greatness in everything that he does.
“Goal on the field: make it to the MFFCC Super Bowl,” Ekie said. “Goal off the field is to get good grades this year in school. “
Before the pros, Ekie dreams of being the next great Miami Hurricanes player.
“They’re cool and I want to wear the turnover chain,” Ekie said. “It would be so fun to play for them.”
Ekie lists PE as his favorite subject in school.
“We get to do whatever we want, that kids like to do,” Ekie said. “I get to play a bunch of different sports.”
Epps outlines the next areas of improvement for Ekie.
“I’m working with him on his tackling techniques,” Epps said. “It’s more difficult with him only being six years old playing 8U but he’s definitely up for the challenge.”
Epps believes the sky is the limit as long as Ekie continues to stay hungry.
“He’s gifted and very talented,” Epps said. “I believes if he continues to work hard and put school first he’ll be playing on Saturdays and possibly Sundays.”
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