As one of the country’s top college football recruits, Ezekiel “Zeke” Pike seemingly had it all: an unstoppable combination of size, strength and speed.
As football season began, fans even speculated he could follow in the footsteps of Cam Newton, Auburn’s former Heisman Trophy winner.
Unfortunately, drug addiction threw Pike’s life into a downward spiral, and his problems would follow him onto the field, from one football team to the next.
Now, after a series of events that includes arrests, team dismissals, the death of a loved one to overdose, and suicidal thoughts, Zeke Pike is determined to get his life back on track.
Trouble off the field
In high school, Pike managed to make a name for himself on the football field as an All-American quarterback, despite regularly using marijuana, alcohol and pain pills. “I got caught up in being treated like a superstar,” Pike says in a recent Sports Illustrated interview. “I got caught up in girls.
And I would go out to eat and sign autographs. Then I would take pictures with babies. I was just treated like a rock star.”
That dangerous rock star mentality would only intensify from there. In 2012, fresh out of high school, Pike signed with Auburn as a quarterback. But he was dismissed from the team following a June 2012 arrest for public intoxication.
He transferred to Louisville, but was arrested on another alcohol-related charge in early 2014. Pike would not be invited to return to the team when the program was taken over by Coach Bobby Petrino.
After his suspension from Louisville, he and his girlfriend, cheerleader Dani Cogswell, struggled with Xanax addiction. Pike eventually managed to get clean for five months, but then tragedy struck. Sadly, Cogswell died of an accidental overdose. Following her death, Pike turned once again to marijuana.
He thought he had his addictions under control and got back into football, earning a spot on the Murray State football team. But he was arrested yet again in 2015.
This time for possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest and escape charges. After four days in jail, he was dismissed from the team and his parents cut him off financially.
From star recruit to rock bottom
The shame and guilt of throwing away his athletic ability weighed heavily on Pike’s conscience, according to the S.I. article. Also, Pike was driving in his Ford F-150 on his way to the woods to take his own life – intoxicated by Xanax, and carrying cocaine and marijuana – when he was arrested for the fourth time.
This time, Pike was charged with four felonies and would spend six months in the Marion County Detention Center, where he spent the first days going through severe withdrawals.
Dismissed From the Team
This turned out to be a blessing for Zeke Pike, as it was his opportunity to get clean, get humble, and get serious about a new, sober life. Two months after he was released from jail, Pike founded Ministry8 in October 2016.
And now shares his story with high school students across the country as part of his newfound life. “New beginnings are possible,” Pike says. “New beginnings can be created any day. You just have to choose to start a new beginning.”
Your new beginning
If you or someone you love is an addict, you don’t have to hit rock bottom before getting help. Our team of compassionate, professional addiction specialists at The Watershed can get you the care you need today. In conclusion, whether you are struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol. We are here to talk.
Give us a call: 1-800-861-1768.Tags: celebrity arrests, celebrity news and gossip, sports news