Centreville All-Met Ken Ekanem signs his letter-of-intent to play for Virginia Tech on Wednesday morning. (Paul Tenorio/The Washington Post)

Ekanem ducked behind the podium and pulled out a No. 4 Hokies jersey to make the announcement as the loudspeakers played Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.”

“They were the school that recruited me the hardest ever since day one,” Ekanem said. “Since they offered me, after they lost in the Orange Bowl last season, they came the next day and offered me a scholarship and . . . been staying in contact since then. I can tell they always wanted me and they said no matter what happens, even before the season they said even if tear my ACL they’d still honor the scholarship. I just felt comfortable making the decision.”

It was largely expected Ekanem would choose Virginia Tech after a tumultuous end to his recruiting process.

Three of his other four finalists – North Carolina, Notre Dame and Pitt – had coaching changes in the last few months. In the week leading up to signing day, reports indicated Notre Dame, the other of Ekanem’s final two, was no longer recruiting the standout defensive end.

But Ekanem said he had finalized his decision regarding Virginia Tech about a month ago.

“I’ve known for a while, I knew it was going to be the right place,” Ekanem said. “I eliminated Oregon and after I got injured Notre Dame backed off, so I knew since then.”

Ekanem had 72 tackles, 18 sacks and 32 quarterback pressures for the Wildcats this season, including a 4.5 sack performance in the state semifinals. He also caught eight touchdown passes.

In the state championship, however, Ekanem tore his ACL and meniscus while pulling down the Oscar Smith quarterback six minutes into the game. Ekanem underwent surgery in late December.

“From the football side they do what he has,” Centreville Coach Chris Haddock said. “He’s explosive off the edge and they’re going to cut him loose when he gets there. They’ve had great success when they do. I think the family atmosphere they’ve created down there will fit Ken’s personality. On both sides, from the personality and the football side it really is a perfect match.”

More coverage on AllMetSports.com

Video: Ken Ekanem recruiting spotlight

Centreville team page

Ken Ekanem game-by-game statistics

Recruit Watch: Who’s signing where

Feature story: Ekanem excels despite father’s absence

Recruiting Insider blog: Ekanem has torn ACL

Recruiting Insider blog: Ekanem likely to choose Virginia Tech

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