Ezekiel Elliott helped Ohio State win a national championship in 2014, but he almost ended up attending another school coming out of high school.
Texas head coach Tom Herman—who was Ohio State’s offensive coordinator during the Buckeyes’ national title run—recalled Elliott’s recruitment process, said it came down to Ohio State and Missouri for Elliott.
“We were debating on just whether to take him,” Herman told the Dallas Morning News. “It came down to the 11th hour with Missouri. We were like, ‘Maybe we should just let him go’ because we had another running back in that class.”
According the 247Sports, Elliott was the No. 5 running back in the 2013 recruiting class. Urban Meyer already had a commitment from No. 6 running back Dontre Wilson.
Running backs coach Stan Drayton—who is now with Herman at Texas—convinced Meyer to continue pursuing Elliott.
Meyer: “Well, how good is he, really? Man, Stan. We’re fighting Mizzou. Ohio State doesn’t recruit against Mizzou. I’m sitting here looking at this kid. He’s a man amongst boys. Is he Ohio State caliber?”
Drayton: “I think he is, no doubt about it.”
“There was a moment when Urban could have walked away from Ezekiel Elliott; it wasn’t out of the picture,” Drayton said. “But thank God, you work with a man for so long and they trust your evaluation.”
Elliott was an integral part of Ohio State’s national championship team, and the Buckeyes might not have won that title if Elliott had attended Missouri. And Elliott might not have had the same success in college or as a rookie with the Dallas Cowboys.
(h/t The Spun)