Yale transfer Ezekiel Larry is “super excited about SDSU offer”

Ezekiel Larry (33) records a sack against Harvard. (Credit: Ezekiel Larry)

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Ezekiel Larry (33) rushes the QB. (Credit: Ezekiel Larry)

At its core, the transfer portal is about giving athletes control over their athletic journeys.

In the media, departing players are portrayed as flippantly leaving their current school to chase playing time, NFL dreams, and NIL opportunities. The truth is a little more complicated.

“It was something that I knew I needed to do because my passion is football, and in order to maximize the opportunities I get in football, I just knew I had to leave Yale,” Ezekiel Larry told EVT. “But, at the same time, it was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I have a really close bond with all 100 of my teammates here. Telling them the news that I was going to be leaving broke my heart.”

Ezekiel Larry’s transfer announcement. (Credit: X.com @ezekiellarry7)

Larry left Yale after practice No. 7 of Spring Camp. Yesterday, he was in New Haven for the annual spring game to celebrate winning the 2023 Ivy League Championship with his former teammates.

Taking pressure off his parents to continue paying for school is the ultimate reason why Larry decided to depart from Yale. Out of high school, he chose to forgo a scholarship offer from Fresno State to attend the prestigious university.

“I, technically, earned the scholarship already, but I didn’t take it,” Larry explained. “That was something that kind of ate away at me, especially at different times with the family. So I just wanted to get that burden off my parents’ back.”

Offers began rolling in within a few hours of jumping into the portal. The University of Ohio, Nevada, and San Diego State almost immediately offered the scholarship Larry coveted.

Even after he went to sleep, they kept coming. He woke up to a voicemail offer from Arkansas State. Virginia Tech joined the fray. Larry also mentioned receiving interest from several schools including Fresno State, who was a finalist for his services out of high school.

Among the early suitors, SDSU stands out. He has already scheduled a tentative visit to America’s Finest City for the weekend of May 5

On the trip, Larry is looking forward to learning more about SDSU’s EDGE rushers in defensive coordinator Eric Schmidt’s 4-2-5 defense. What he has seen so far intrigues him because what the Aztecs want from a player at that position is exactly what Larry provides.

“(They are) extremely important,” head coach Sean Lewis said Saturday after the Aztec Fast Showcase when asked how vital EDGE defenders are in SDSU’s 4-2-5 defense. “We want those guys to have a pass-rush demeanor and get up the field and distress the edge and disrupt the timing as they go forward with everything. It’s critical to be able to generate that to have a guy who can come off the edge and do that individually, win a one-on-one, dictate some slides in a way that we can protect things so that we can let that guy go, and be at his best and go disrupt the timing of the offense.”

Credit: Ezekiel Larry

Last season, Larry played in a reserve role for Yale. In about 250 snaps, he recorded an impressive six sacks. Five of them came in the final two games of the season. Larry credited maturing as an athlete, health, and a change in the scheme for the late jump in production. Whatever the cause, Larry’s dominance down the stretch impressed.

Larry helped Yale end Princeton’s Ivy League title hopes in a 36-28 double-overtime victory on November 11. He recorded a pair of second-half sacks before coming up with a crucial play in the first overtime.

Displaying a great burst off the line, Larry flushed the QB out of the pocket, forcing the signal caller to scramble. After rushing past the QB initially, Larry ran back into the play, stopping the ball carrier at the two-yard line. Princeton failed to score over the next four plays. Without Larry’s efforts, the heroics in the second OT would not have occurred.

The following week, Yale needed a win over first-place Harvard to secure a title. Since Ivy League universities do not allow their teams to play in the FCS playoffs, this contest against The Crimson was the biggest of the season. Larry rose to the occasion.

In Yale’s 23-18 victory, he had three sacks. His biggest impact, however, came on a QB pressure that resulted in a pick-6 for the Bulldogs.

“Last season was just a glimpse,” Larry said. “I played 240 snaps, so that’s about half to a third of what most DI, starting defensive ends. It was just a sneak peek of what I could really do. Now, I’m more comfortable on the Division I level and know how business operates on this level. I’m in a more professional headspace, and I’m just ready to get after it.”

From the film, it is obvious why Larry is such a desirable player. He excels at rushing the quarterback, the one skill that is the kryptonite of modern offenses.

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Larry’s pass-rushing arsenal is extensive. He displays terrific up-field push off the line, uses his hands well to create separation from blockers, and a lethal inside move to counter what he shows as a speed rusher.

Ezekiel Larry on the sideline at Yale. (Credit: X.com @ezekiellarry7)

“Electric,” Larry replied when asked to describe his playing style. “My game is just explosive. I’m just flying around always, especially on third and long. I feel like I’m among the best pass rushers in the country already. And I’m just going to keep on working to keep on improving. I would definitely say I’m a pass rush specialist, but I also can do other things in the run game. I pride myself on my ability to rush the passer.”

His football bloodlines are impeccable as well. His dad starred for USC. Three uncles played in the NFL. His brother is a cornerback at Colorado State.

“Oh, yeah, absolutely,” Larry replied when asked if his family legacy influenced him. “They all push me because it’s who I want to be like. Even if they’re not pushing me in terms of talking to me every day, knowing their legacy on the football field and off the field, which is even more important. But their legacy on the field is big shoes to fill, but I’m up to the challenge. I’m working every day to live up to them.”

Larry said playing close to home was not initially a factor for him, but SDSU’s offer has warmed him up to the idea. San Diego, he noted, is his parent’s dream retirement destination. With his family already in love with the city, the enjoyment he would bring them on game days as they make the two-and-a-half-hour drive from Palmdale to Snapdragon matters.

With three years of eligibility, Larry’s fit at SDSU is obvious in 2024 and beyond. The Aztecs need EDGE rushers. Their returning players were groomed for the 3-3-5 defense and the 4-2-5 only thrives with ends who can rush the passer.

“I would love to be four to six deep at that spot,” Lewis said. “There’s probably going to be a little bit of drop off between those top-end guys to where you get number six. But, you want to have that competitive depth to push guys along each and every single day … If you can put four to six guys out there that can truly put their hand in the dirt, get their butts cocked up a little bit high in those obvious pass situations and go impact the passer and only have to commit four guys to do it, well, then, you can flood the zones with coverage, and … have a competitive advantage leaning your way.”

Larry said he believes the current group of school offers suffices to accomplish what he desired when he transferred. He is in the process of setting up visits and plans to make a decision in time to join his new team for summer workouts. For a player who gave up a full ride for an elite education, NIL is not a central factor for him.

As the only school within driving distance of his parents and the way SDSU highlights EDGE players in their defense, the Aztecs are in a strong position to land him.

“I am super excited about the SDSU offer,” Larry emphasized.

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