At the defensive tackle position we have seen a continuous change in a lot of things. The size of the athletes playing the position has changed a lot but so has their abilities. A few players that really show that change at the position would be both Vince Wilfork and William Perry who you would now call an old school nose guard and now athletes like Aaron Donald and Geno Atkins who demonstrate the new athletic and fast defensive tackles. Being able to really see and be a part of the change, look at the recent players that have come out of the city of Ottawa for an example. There are only two players from the city of Ottawa in the NFL right now, both on the defensive line and both Eli Ankou and Neville Gallimore are fast for their size. Both weighing in over 300 pounds each, the two are surprisingly quick, Ankou has explosive speed off of the ball and shows his ability to stop the run efficiently while Gallimore can stop the run and rush the passer, running an eye popping 4.7 40 yard dash. What you see in Gallimore, and all of the other names listed whether it’s Aaron Donald or Geno Atkins, is exactly what you want at the defensive tackle position these days. They all show the basics and all of the fundamentals but also the speed and quickness which helps them play in today’s NFL. Among the group of players that can compare to these NFL stars and a great player on the come up from Ottawa is Eben Dibula.
Standing at 6-foot-3, 285 pounds, Eben Dibula shows a lot of speed and quickness which helps his pass rush ability while using his size to plug run gaps, making himself a newer style interior defensive lineman. “He’s big so they’re going to put him on the line.” said Ottawa Redblacks nose guard Michael Wakefield, “but when you watch him you can tell that he is a great player. He moves fast for his size and he also does a good job of using his hands and can get away from the blockers very well.” Being fast for his size, showing his 4.9 (40 time) speed while being on the defensive line along with everything that Wakefield mentioned while watching the film on Dibula you can tell he’s very fundamentally polished and it all came through years of playing football. Playing football now for nearly a decade, Eben Dibula started playing in NCAFA, a community league in Ottawa for the Bell Warriors where he was able to play a number of snaps, really learning the game of football and having some success on the way, winning Defensive Lineman of the year in 2011 and 2013. When asked about starting to play football he said, “I was a big kid so everyone told me I should play football and when I did I fell in love with the game. Having the chance to play a sport where I can use my size as an advantage and building the relationships with the friends I have now, it’s been great and football has been something that has brought me to an understanding of what I want to do in the future.”
Moving forward into the future, Dibula began to work on his craft and got more serious about the game of football. Starting off with a season at Garneau High School in Orleans and also when he moved to the East end of Ottawa he started to play with other teams in NCAFA, both the Orleans Bengals and the Orleans Raftsman all the way up to 2018 and just from meeting people and being around the game of football in Ottawa he heard a lot about other footballs that he could go to for an improvement in his craft but also his future in football. Not only did he start hearing about it but Ebenezer Dibula had also committed to it all. He ended up going to St Matthews High School in Orleans which at the time was starting to grow as a football school and with help from coach Jean Guillaume the school was well known and had a great reputation. That reputation, mostly from the number of players that go to the next level from St Matthews was the main reason for Dibula and other players to transfer schools, “Just seeing that I could have a future in football was amazing.” said Eben Dibula, “Football is something I love and its been a great sport to play and for me seeing that I could go high up with it. Have free schooling from it and even maybe a job in the future I had to go to St Matts.”
Going to St Matthews, Ebenezer Dibula was exposed to a football culture in the making. Just a few years after coming to St Matthews himself, Jean Guillaume as he took over for the head coaching role created a great football program at St Matthews, having players go next level in both NCAA and the CIS but most importantly Jean was a life coach, aiming to help his athletes off the field as much as he does on in. When asked more about being coached by Guillaume, Eben commented, “He is by far the best coach I’ve had and I’m sure other players can agree as well. He helps us a lot as football players, he makes us ready to play at the next level but he also helps us in school and in life.” he then continued to say, “Coach Jean has been a father figure for some players and you can tell because he cares about everyone and being able to be coached by him really has impacted my life and I’m grateful to have had some opportunities from him as well.”
Jean himself said, “He’s very tough mentally, he’s gone through a lot of adversity. He has the exact mentality that you want on the defensive side of the ball, he is a player that is very unselfish and will do everything you want him to.”
In just the one season he played as a part of the St Matthews Tigers in 2019, Dibula turned heads, playing on both sides of the ball, offensive and defensive line and made an impact on both sides. He was named the best defensive lineman on the team but he was also awarded All-City for both Offensive Line and Defensive Line by the Ottawa HIgh School Football League, the same league who from just one season with St Matthews awarded him a spot on the All-Decade offensive line. All of the awards and accolades that he has received over time is great to look back on for him now but it also shows the dominance he had and still has on the football field. That dominance was most recently shown in the states where Sports Illustrated All American writer John Garcia was able to watch him and see enough to say, “He is a great player.” and “You can tell that he has played on the offensive line as well because he does a great job reading the plays and given his size and speed it shows that he can read plays effectively.” The season he played in the states was at Clearwater Academy international, a school that Jean Guillaume of St Matthews has coached at and his players are very familiar with. Dibula went to Clearwater Academy International to have an opportunity at a division one scholarship and he got it. Though he didn’t have any offers going into the season and his name wasn’t blasted all over throughout the season, Dibula did get one offer and he signed to it just a few days after receiving the offer. When he talks about playing in Florida and having his offer Dibula said, “It only takes one person to see me and I went to Florida to have that one person see me. I played a full season against top ranked players across the border and I felt like I did enough to get a few opportunities. I didn’t get a lot of opportunities but it all goes back to the one person mentality and that one person for me was from Bethune Cookman.”
Ebenezer Dibula ended up signing to play at the University of Bethune Cookman and will be fulfilling his dreams of playing division one football alongside other Ottawa native Benjamin Chombe who signed to play there last year but because of the Pandemic he wasn’t able to play just yet.
Stay tuned and watch Eben Dibula go on to play at the next level at Bethune Cookman now and be sure to follow his journey to the NFL.