Ezekiel "Zeke" 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 All-American honours in 2015. Elliott was drafted by the Cowboys fourth overall in the 2016 NFL draft.
High school career
Despite Ezekiel's athletic pedigree, Elliott attended more academically-driven John Burroughs School in Ladue, Missouri, where he had been a three-sport star in football, basketball and track, and additionally played baseball. He played as a running back for the John Burroughs Bombers football team. As a junior in 2012, he had been 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. He led the football team to three straight title games, but lost all three.
Also a standout track & 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 1⁄2 hours (100-meter dash, 200, 110 high hurdles and 300 hurdles). 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 had been named the Gatorade Track Athlete of the Year in the state of Missouri.
Despite overwhelming support and pressure for Ezekiel to sign with his parent's alma mater - University of Missouri, Elliott decided to sign with Ohio State University. 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. In 2014, Elliott took over as the starter. Throughout the season, Elliott was named to the Academic All-Big Ten Conference team. In the final two games of the 2014 season, against Indiana and Michigan he ran for 107 yards and 121 yards respectively. In the 2014 Big Ten Championship Game against the Wisconsin Badgers, Elliott ran for 220 yards on 20 carries for two touchdowns. In the 2015 Sugar Bowl against No. 1 Alabama, Elliott ran for 230 yards on 20 carries in the first-ever college football playoffs as Ohio State defeated Alabama in a hard-fought game, 42–35. He had been named the Offensive Player of the Game. He then capped the Buckeyes' championship season by rushing for 246 yards on 36 carries and scoring four touchdowns against the Oregon Ducks. He had been named the Offensive MVP of that game as well.
In a post-game interview following Ohio State's 14–17 loss to Michigan State, on Nov. 21, 2015, Elliott announced that he would forgo his senior year at Ohio State and enter the 2016 NFL Draft  The following week Elliott ran for 214 yards on 30 carries in a 42–13 Ohio State victory over Michigan in Ann Arbor. Elliott finished his career at Ohio State second in career rushing yards behind Archie Griffin and ahead of Eddie George, with 3,961.
Ezekiel Elliott received numerous honours throughout 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.
His success at the end of the 2014 season made him a front-runner for the 2015 Heisman Trophy. 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 had been additionally named Big Ten Player of the Week twice throughout the 2015 season for his performances in Week five against Indiana, and in Week 13 against Michigan.
2016 NFL Draft
Elliott has been labelled as the best, most complete back to enter the draught after Adrian Peterson, 9 years prior. He had been seen as the top running back in the draught class and predicted to be a top 10 selection. On his draught breakdown by NFL.com he drew comparisons to Edgerrin James and was listed as a three-down back that "has 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" even though he handled a heavy workload the past couple years in college.
|Ht||Wt||Arm length||Hand size||40-yd dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20-ss||3-cone||Vert||Broad||BP|
|5 ft 11¾ in||225 lb||31¼ in||10¼ in||4.47 s||1.58 s||2.62 s||32½ in||9 ft 10 in|
|All values from NFL Combine.|
Elliott was selected fourth overall by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2016 NFL draft on April 28, 2016. He is widely regarded as an early favourite for the 2016 Offensive Rookie of the Year while playing behind what a large number of agree upon as the NFL's most dominant offensive line leading up to the 2016 NFL season. On May 18, 2016, Elliott signed his four-year rookie contract reportedly worth $24.9 million with a $16.3 million signing bonus.
Elliott's dad, Stacy, played outside linebacker for the Missouri Tigers and was on the losing end of the infamous "fifth down" play in which Colorado scored a game-winning touchdown after officials in charge of the down markers failed to mark a play. He now works as a social worker. Elliott's mother, Dawn, was a heptathlete for University of Missouri, and now works as an accounts manager.