Ezekiel Elliott showing skill in his first NFL season

The Dallas Cowboys have something special: Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott is just 21 years old and a rookie running back for the Dallas Cowboys, someone who every football fan needs to get to know. He is the future of the Cowboys franchise and perhaps even the NFL. Elliott was drafted by Dallas fourth overall in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft out of Ohio State last April. He was the top prospect at his position coming out of college and hasn’t wasted any time showing his worth in the Big D.

After backing up current San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde during his 2013 freshman campaign, Elliott knew he just had to wait for his chance to shine at Ohio State. Elliott did exactly that in the 2014 and 2015 seasons, his sophomore and junior season. He ran the rock 273 times for 1,878 yards and 18 touchdowns in the 2014 season. He also lead Ohio State to a national championship victory over No. 2 Oregon. In the 2014 national championship game, Elliott ran 36 times for 246 yards and four touchdowns, winning Offensive MVP of the game. This put Elliott on the map to be the top running back in all of college football for the 2015 season.

Despite Ohio State not making the college football playoff in 2015, Elliott played excellently as he ran 289 times for 1,821 yards and 23 touchdowns. Their season ended on a tough loss to Big 10 rival Michigan State 17-14 that ultimately ended up sparking controversy between Elliott and his head coach, Urban Meyer. Elliott felt the loss was due to Meyer’s play calling and lack of getting him involved in the game. Elliott ran a season-low 12 times for just 33 yards. The lone game of the season where he had fewer than 100 yards rushing. Following the tough loss, Elliott made it known that he would forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft in the spring.

Elliott’s success at the college level has certainly translated over well to the NFL. Six games into the season and Elliott has already taken the league by storm. He’s led Dallas to their best start in over a decade as they sit at 5-1 atop the competitive NFC East. This record is also without the help of the Cowboys’ best wide receiver, Dez Bryant and starting quarterback, Tony Romo. Elliott has started all six games for Dallas and has rushed the ball 137 times for a league-high 703 yards and five touchdowns. He also has proved value in the passing game with 11 receptions for 98 yards. If Dallas wants to keep winning they just have to keep feeding Elliott the ball.

His 703 rushing yards through six games puts him only behind Eric Dickerson for most yards by a rookie through the first six games in NFL history. Elliott has been picking up his play every week and has notched over 134 yards in his last four games. He is the first rookie to ever run for over 130 yards in four consecutive games in NFL history. If he keeps up his average of 117.2 yards per game, he will finish the season with 1,875 yards that would set an all-time rookie rushing record. However, Elliott may even out-perform his current rushing projection and eclipse 2,000 yards. His teammate and leader of the team, Dez Bryant sure thinks so.

“Yeah. I believe it, two thousand or more. That’s my prediction,” Bryant said to The Fort Worth Star Telegram.

Some encouraging words coming from one of the league’s most respected wide receivers and a two-time Pro Bowl selection. Elliott definitely has the team and his whole city behind him right now. He is the new main attraction in the Big D and even the entire NFL. He has proven to be nothing short of unstoppable. It is still early in his career, but if he can stay healthy, he has a chance to become one of the best running backs in NFL history.

Sports Editor for the Maine Campus.

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