The-Ozone Rewind: Ezekiel Elliott Commits to Ohio State, 2012

Ohio State Buckeyes Ezekiel Elliott vs. Michigan 2014

[Editor’s Note: From now until Big Ten Media Days, we’ll be reaching into The-Ozone’s 23 years worth of archives and each day we will be posting a story from yesteryear. Big moments, small moments, big games, bigger games, and the random recruiting updates about guys you haven’t thought about in a decade or two.]

April 1, 2012 | This was no prank by Ezekiel Elliott, though he would have Buckeye fans terribly nervous when he began to waver on his commitment in the winter and then ultimately announce on signing day that he would stick with Ohio State. Elliott would go on to rush for 3,961 yards in his OSU career, finishing second all-time in rushing yardage to Archie Griffin. Elliott owns two of the three best single-season rushing totals in Ohio State history as well. Following his sophomore season, Elliott won the Sullivan Award as the nation’s top amateur athlete. He was also named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten by the coaches and media that year as well! — TG

Urban Meyer has talked about the lack of players who currently “wow” him on the Ohio State football roster, but he took one big step towards ending that drought on Sunday by landing a verbal commitment from St. Louis tailback Ezekiel Elliott.

Elliott (6-0 200), from John Burroughs High School in Missouri, is the sixth 2013 commitment for the Buckeyes, and the second skill position player in the class.

Rated a four-star prospect by both Scout and Rivals, Elliott chose the Buckeyes over offers from Notre Dame, Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri, Nebraska, Penn State, Wisconsin and Tennessee.

Scout, which ranks him their ninth-best running back in the 2013 class, lists him with a 4.40 forty time, as does ESPN.

Elliott isn’t just a football player, however, as he is also an All-Conference basketball player and a budding track star.

As a sophomore he won the Missouri Class 3 state championship in the 110-hurdles and finished second in the 300-hurdles. At the AAU Nationals last summer, he finished first in the 400-hurdles and second in the 110-high hurdles.

It’s no surprise then that he also plans to run track at Ohio State.

Elliott is the top recruit in the St. Louis area, and after rushing for 1,802 yards and 34 touchdowns on just 211 carries (8.5 ypc), it’s easy to see why. He also caught 23 passes for 401 yards and six touchdowns, and also had two touchdown returns.

Ohio State offered Elliott back in February after he visited Columbus for OSU’s Junior Day. He returned for his second unofficial visit this past weekend and saw all that he needed to see to convince him that it was time to pull the trigger for the Buckeyes.

“I felt comfortable there (in Columbus) with the team, the coaches, the administrators,” he told the Ladue-Frontenac Patch. “I even met the president of the school. Ohio State is perfect for my academic pursuits.”

Elliott’s football coach is former NFL quarterback Gus Frerotte, and he is confident that Ohio State is getting a quality player.

“Zeke is a great football player, no doubt,” Frerotte told the Ladue-Frontenac Patch. “We are working on developing his leadership skills, then he will be a great athlete.”

But it’s not just his football coach who is singing his praises, because basketball coach Steve Wilcutt is also a fan.

“We have him for just four months and he makes second-team Metro League”, Wilcutt told the Ladue-Frontenac Patch. “He’s the cheeriest kid I know. He’s always got a smile on his face. He’s a joy to coach.”

He’s not just a versatile overall athlete, however, he’s also versatile on the football field.

“Schools see him as a running back, a wide receiver, an H-back or a defensive back,” Frerotte said. “He brings so many options to any school.”

Those options likely intrigue Meyer and the Buckeye coaching staff, and it’s clear that they intend to get the ball in his hands in a variety of ways in order to see what he is capable of.

That intrigue goes both ways, because Elliott also likes what he sees in the future for Meyer and Ohio State.

“He’s a great guy, very outgoing,” Elliott told after his initial visit back in February. “He’s ready to win there at Ohio State. He’s ready to win a national championship.”

With Elliott’s commitment, the Buckeyes would probably like to land one more tailback in this class, and the top two candidates would appear to be Philadelphia’s David Williams and Virginia’s Derrick Green.

Green is from Hermitage High School in Richmond, Virginia, which is the same high school that sent linebacker Curtis Grant to Ohio State. The Buckeyes lead for Green’s services, though it’s unclear what Elliott’s commitment does to both Green and Ohio State’s thought process.

At the moment, the 2013 class looks like it will struggle to reach 20 members due to available scholarships, so it is quite telling that Meyer was willing to take Elliott’s commitment at this time. They obviously like what they see, both on and off the field.

The 2013 Commitments

1. Cameron Burrows (6-1 195), DB Trotwood, Ohio

2. Jalin Marshall (6-0 190), ATH Middletown, Ohio

3. Billy Price (6-4 280), DT Youngstown, Ohio

4. Eli Woodard (6-1 185) CB Voorhees, New Jersey

5. Evan Lisle (6-6 265) OT Centerville, Ohio

6. Ezekiel Elliott (6-0 200) RB St. Louis, Missouri