Stan Drayton may very well be the happiest man in all of college football. Drayton, Ohio State’s running back coach, has been blessed with arguably the most talented running corp in the nation. Two of the top fifteen RB recruits from the class of 2013, the 13th best RB recruit from 2012, and a member of the Doak Walker award watch list. And yet none of these studs are the Buckeye’s top rusher, that honor goes to the dynamic Jordan Hall. In this week’s edition of the Freshman Spotlight, we’ll look at Ziggy Elliott, one of the members of that dynamic freshman duo with Dontre Wilson (who took last week’s freshman spotlight).
This past week, Elliott managed to garner the second most carries by a running back. With his six touches, Ziggy (real name: Ezekiel) racked up 36 yards, a respectable 6.0 yards per carry. Those rushing yards all came in the second half, as a worn-out Aztec defense had no chance of keeping up with the plethora of Buckeye backs.
Ask any Georgia Bulldog fan about the importance of a running back tandem and they could talk your ear off. Since Bulldog backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall committed to Athens, UGA has been able to stack up against the SEC’s finest with the dominating ground duo and steady, elite play from QB Aaron Murray. Ohio State could find themselves in that identical situation. With Elliott and Wilson complementing each other (speed and power) and Braxton Miller continuing his ascent to the peak of collegiate quartback play (barring any knee injury setbacks), the Buckeyes should dominate in the same way, with a much more talented defense and easier competition in the Big Ten.
Wilson undeniably has the speed advantage over Elliott, but Ziggy’s versatility may result in him garnering more touches. At 6’0 and 210 lbs., Elliott is the Buckeye’s second biggest back, behind Rod Smith, who has received touches this year. Elliott has the potential to be a major piece in Coach Urban Meyer’s spread offense in numerous facets. With his large size, Ziggy has the ability to run between the tackles as the power compliment to Braxton Miller’s speed. But with a 4.41 40-yard dash time, Elliott can certainly bounce outside and be the scat back Meyer loves. By taking a quick look at his senior highlights, it easy to see that Elliott has the ability to maximize every facet of his talent and toy with unexpecting defenses.
With one more game before Carlos Hyde returns from his suspension, Elliott should get ample opportunity (the Buckeyes will be playing California) and a chance to shine against potentially OSU’s first challenge of the game. The Buckeyes will be anchored by their dominating ground game again in week three, and look for Ziggy to take full advantage of every opportunity.