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Ezekiel Elliott

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Ezekiel Elliott
refer to caption
Elliott with the Dallas Cowboys in 2017
No. 21 – Dallas Cowboys
Position: Running back
Personal information
Born: (1995-07-22) July 22, 1995 (age 23)
Alton, Illinois
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight: 228 lb (103 kg)
Career information
High school: John Burroughs School
(Ladue, Missouri)
College: Ohio State
NFL Draft: 2016 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 2, 2018
Rushing yards: 2,761
Yards per carry: 4.6
Rushing touchdowns: 24
Receptions: 66
Receiving yards: 658
Receiving touchdowns: 3
Player stats at

Ezekiel Elijah Elliott (born July 22, 1995) is an American football running back for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Ohio State, where he earned second-team All-America honors in 2015. He was drafted by the Cowboys fourth overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. In his first NFL season, he led the league in rushing yards and was invited to the Pro Bowl.

Early life

Elliott was born in Alton, Illinois, to a mother and father who both played collegiate athletics.[1] His mother, the former Dawn Huff, was a high school state champion in three sports before attending the University of Missouri and running track there.[2][3] His father, Stacy, was a linebacker for the Missouri football team.[4] Elliott's maternal grandfather played basketball for Drake University.[2]

High school career

Despite his athletic pedigree, Elliott attended more academically driven John Burroughs School in Ladue, Missouri,[5][6] where he was a three-sport star in football, basketball, and track, and also played baseball.[6] He played as a running back for the John Burroughs Bombers football team. As a junior in 2012, he was named the St. Louis Post-Dispatch offensive player of the year after rushing for 1,802 yards and 34 touchdowns and receiving 23 passes for 401 yards and six scores. In his senior year, he had 3,061 all-purpose yards and 50 total touchdowns, including 2,155 rushing yards and 40 rushing touchdowns.[7] He led the football team to three straight championship games, but lost all three.[6]

Also a standout track and field athlete, Elliott was a state qualifier in sprinting and hurdling events. He capped his high school career by winning four state championships at the Missouri Class 3 state championships in ​2 12 hours (100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, 110-meter high hurdles and 300-meter hurdles).[8] He recorded career-best times of 10.95 seconds in the 100-meter dash, 22.05 seconds in the 200-meter dash, 13.77 seconds in the 110m hurdles and 37.52 seconds in the 300m hurdles. He was named the Gatorade Track Athlete of the Year in the state of Missouri.[9]

Considered a four-star recruit by, Elliott was listed as the No. 9 running back in the nation in 2013.[10] He played in the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Despite overwhelming support and pressure for Elliott to sign with his parents' alma mater, the University of Missouri, he decided to sign with Ohio State University.[6]

College career

As a true freshman at Ohio State University in 2013, Elliott rushed for 262 yards on 30 carries with two touchdowns as a backup to starter Carlos Hyde, mostly playing as a gunner on special teams.[6][11][12]

Elliott in 2014

In 2014, with the departure of Hyde to the NFL, Elliott took over as the starter for the Buckeyes.[13][14] During the season, Elliott was named to the Academic All-Big Ten Conference team.[15] Elliott rushed over 100 yards six times during the scheduled season.[16] In the 2014 Big Ten Championship Game against the Wisconsin Badgers, Elliott ran for 220 yards on 20 carries for two touchdowns. This win qualified Ohio State for the first-ever College Football Playoff. In the 2015 Sugar Bowl against #1 Alabama, Elliott ran for 230 yards on 20 carries in a hard-fought 42–35 win where he was named the Offensive Player of the Game.[17] He then capped the Buckeyes' championship season by rushing for 246 yards on 36 carries and scoring four touchdowns against the Oregon Ducks.[18][19] He was named the Offensive MVP of that game as well; it was the third most rushing yards ever by an Ohio State player.[20]

In 2015, Elliott began the season by rushing for over 100 yards in 10 straight wins, including 274 against Indiana on October 3 (the second most all-time by an Ohio State player).[21][20] However, the team suffered a 14–17 loss to Michigan State on November 21, 2015, and Elliott announced that he would enter the 2016 NFL Draft.[22][23] The following week Elliott ran for 214 yards on 30 carries in a 42–13 Ohio State victory over Michigan in Ann Arbor, his fifth 200+ yard game.[24] He ended his career with 149 yards and four touchdowns in a Fiesta Bowl win over Notre Dame.[25]

Elliott finished his career at Ohio State on several leaderboards.[26] He was second in career rushing yards with 3,961 and yards per game with 101.6 (both behind only Archie Griffin), had the second and third most rushing yards in a season, and five of the top 20 rushing yards in a game. His 43 rushing touchdowns was fourth most all time, and his 23 in 2015 was third most in a season. His twelve 100-yard rushing games in the 2015 season tied Eddie George for a school record, and the 22 he amassed over his career was again second only to Griffin (as was his streak of 15 consecutive 100-yard games from 2014-2015). He and George are the only Ohio State players with five 200-yard rushing games.[20]

Individual awards

Elliott received numerous honors during his tenure at Ohio State. In the 2014 season, Elliott was named the Offensive MVP of both the 2015 Sugar Bowl and the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

Elliott's success at the end of the 2014 season made him a front-runner for the 2015 Heisman Trophy, though he in fact finished 8th in the voting.[27][28] After a successful regular season in which he gained 1,672 yards and 19 touchdowns, Elliott was named the 2015 Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year, 2015 Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year and was selected as Unanimous First Team All-Big Ten. In addition to the yearly awards, he was also named Big Ten Player of the Week twice during the 2015 season for his performances in Week 5 against Indiana, and in Week 13 against Michigan.[29]


Collegiate career statistics
Season Rushing Receiving
Att Yards Avg Long TD Rec Yards Avg Long TD
2013 30 262 8.7 57 2 3 23 7.7 11 1
2014 273 1,878 6.9 85 18 28 220 7.9 22 0
2015 289 1,821 6.3 80 23 27 206 7.6 30 0
NCAA Total 592 3,961 6.7 85 43 58 449 7.7 30 1

Professional career

Before the draft, Elliott was labeled the most complete back to enter the NFL since Adrian Peterson in 2007, and was predicted to be a top 10 selection.[30][31][32][33][34] On a draft breakdown by, he drew comparisons to Edgerrin James and was listed as a three-down back that had "rare combination of size, athleticism, pass-catching and blocking skills", and that he "should still come out of the gates as one of the most productive young running backs in the league".[35]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad
5 ft 11 34 in
(1.82 m)
225 lb
(102 kg)
31 14 in
(0.79 m)
10 14 in
(0.26 m)
4.47 s 1.58 s 2.62 s 32 12 in
(0.83 m)
9 ft 10 in
(3.00 m)
All values from NFL Combine.[36][37]

Elliott was selected in the first round with the fourth overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2016 NFL Draft on April 28, 2016.[38] He was the first running back selected in the draft that year.[39] He was widely regarded as an early favorite for the 2016 Offensive Rookie of the Year while playing behind what many agreed upon as the NFL's most dominant offensive line leading up to the 2016 NFL season.[40][41][42][43]

On May 18, 2016, Elliott signed his four-year rookie contract reportedly worth $24.9 million with a $16.3 million signing bonus.[44]

2016 season

Elliott playing against the Washington Redskins in 2016

Elliott was named the Dallas Cowboys' starting running back going into the regular season, ahead of veterans Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden. In his professional debut, he had 20 rushing attempts for 51 rushing yards and scored his first career touchdown on an 8-yard run against the New York Giants.[45] The following game against the Washington Redskins, Elliott had 21 carries for 83 yards and a touchdown but also fumbled twice, losing one of them.[46] In a Week 3 matchup against the Chicago Bears, he posted his first game with over a hundred yards and finished Dallas' second consecutive victory with 30 rushing attempts for 140 rushing yards.[47] In the next game, against the San Francisco 49ers, he had 138 rushing yards and a touchdown.[48] On October 9, 2016, Elliott helped his team defeat the Cincinnati Bengals 28–14 and rushed for 134 yards on 15 attempts and scored two rushing touchdowns, including a 60-yard touchdown.[49] The next week, the Cowboys played the Green Bay Packers, and Elliott continued his four-game streak with over 100 yards after carrying the ball 28 times for 157 rushing yards.[50][51]

After the ninth game of the 2016 season, he became the second Cowboys rookie to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season, after Tony Dorsett achieved the mark in 1977. As well, he became the third running back to rush for 1,000 yards after just the ninth game of his career, joining Adrian Peterson and Eric Dickerson.[52]

In a November 13 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, Elliott recorded 209 total yards and three touchdowns, including his first career receiving touchdown on an 83-yard pass from fellow rookie Dak Prescott, and a 32-yard run for the game-winning touchdown with 9 seconds left.[50] In Week 11, Elliott rushed for 97 yards against the Baltimore Ravens, passing Tony Dorsett's Cowboys rookie rushing record on his second carry.[53]

In Week 15, after scoring a touchdown against Tampa Bay, Elliott jumped into an oversized Salvation Army Red Kettle; an unusual touchdown celebration.[54][55] With that rushing touchdown, he surpassed Tony Dorsett and Herschel Walker for the Cowboys rookie record.[56] He ran for 159 yards in the game.[57] Since the Cowboys clinched the number one seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs, Elliott rushed for only 80 yards in Week 16 and did not play in Week 17.[58][59] He finished the season as the NFL's top rusher with 1,631 yards[60] and third with 15 touchdowns.[61] Elliott's 464 yards after contact ranked fourth among NFL running backs.[62] As a result of his successful 2016 season, Elliott was selected as a First-team All-Pro,[63] and earned his first Pro Bowl, joining Dak Prescott as the first rookie running back and quarterback duo in NFL history to be selected.[64] He was also ranked seventh by his peers on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2017 as the highest ranked running back.[65]

In his first career playoff game, he ran 22 times for 125 yards in a loss to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round, joining Duane Thomas as the only Cowboy rookie to rush for over 100 yards in a playoff game.[66]

2017 season

Elliott against the Redskins in 2017

On August 11, 2017, the NFL suspended Elliott for the first six games of the 2017 season for violating the personal conduct policy. His suspension stemmed from accusations of domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend on five occasions in 2016. NFL officials conducted a year-long investigation into the allegations, and though Elliott was never criminally charged, decided to suspend him.[67] On August 16, Elliott announced that he would appeal the suspension.[68][69] Although the suspension was upheld on September 6 by a league-appointed arbitrator, on September 8, a federal judge granted a request for injunction by the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), putting the suspension on hold indefinitely.[70]

On September 10, 2017, in Week 1 against the New York Giants on NBC Sunday Night Football, Elliott rushed for 104 yards on 24 attempts as the Cowboys won by a score of 19–3.[71][72]

On September 17, 2017, in Week 2, Elliott had the worst game of his career statistically in an away game against the Denver Broncos. He was held to eight rushing yards on nine carries in the 42–17 defeat.[73]

On October 12, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals announced that Elliot's suspension had been reinstated, meaning that he would have to serve the six-game suspension up from that point.[74][75] On October 18, Elliott was granted a temporary restraining order, meaning that he would not have to serve his suspension from that point, allowing him to play in Week 7.[76] In Week 7, against the San Francisco 49ers, Elliott rushed for 147 yards and two touchdowns and had a 72-yard touchdown reception from Dak Prescott in the 40–10 victory.[77]

On October 30, Judge Katherine Polk Failla of the New York Southern District Court, denied Elliott's request for a preliminary injunction, which reinstated the 6-game suspension.[78] The following day, the NFLPA filed an emergency motion for the injunction.[79]

On November 3, Elliott was once again granted a stay by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which delayed the suspension.[80]

On November 9, the suspension was once again reinstated by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.[81] Three days afterward, Elliott decided to accept the suspension and leave the country to train for a little while.[82] On November 15, Elliott officially announced that he withdrew from another appeal attempt.[83] During his suspension, he had been training and rehabbing his hamstrings in Mexico before his reinstatement.[84] Elliott returned in Week 16 during a must-win situation against the Seattle Seahawks, where he rushed for 97 yards. The Cowboys lost 12–21 and were eliminated from playoff contention.[85][86] In the regular season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles, Elliott recorded 27 carries for 103 rushing yards in the 6–0 victory.[87] Overall, in the 2017 season, he finished with 983 rushing yards, seven rushing touchdowns, 269 receiving yards, and two receiving touchdowns.[88]

Career statistics

Year Team Games Rushing Receiving
GP GS Att Yards Avg Lng TD Yds/g Att/g Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Rec/g Yds/g
2016 DAL 15 15 322 1,631 5.1 60 15 108.7 21.5 32 363 11.3 83 1 2.1 24.2
2017 DAL 10 10 242 983 4.1 30 7 98.3 24.2 26 269 10.3 72 3 2.6 26.9
Career 25 25 564 2,614 4.6 60 22 104.6 22.6 58 632 10.9 83 3 2.3 25.3


  • FedEx Ground Player of the Year (2016)
  • Offensive Rookie of the Month – October 2016[89]
  • Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week[90]
  • NFC Offensive Player of the Week – Week 10, 2016[91]
  • NFL Castrol Edge Clutch Performer of the Week – Week 10, 2016
  • 2× NFL FedEx Ground Running Back of the Week – Weeks 4 and 5, 2016

Personal life

Elliott bought his parents Dawn and Stacey a new house after signing his rookie contracts. He studied marketing at Ohio State University.[citation needed] He was good friends with fellow Buckeye teammate Kosta Karageorge, who was a walk-on defensive end. Karageorge received national attention when he committed suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Elliott was very surprised by the death of his friend. "Our hearts dropped," he told ESPN. "It was just a hard moment for all of us. For me, personally, that was my first time losing someone that I was very close with."[92]


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External links