Elliott Re-Affirms Commitment, Signs With Ohio State
By Tony Gerdeman
What seemed like an open and shut case for the better part of the last 10 months was finally closed again for good on Wednesday when St. Louis tailback Ezekiel Elliott re-affirmed his commitment to Ohio State and signed his letter of intent.
The Army All-American put all of the recent concern and unrest to rest by committing once again to Ohio State, citing the overall atmosphere as one major reason why.
"The atmosphere of Columbus, Ohio," he said.
"Everyone in Ohio loves Ohio State football. I'm ready to do great things with Urban Meyer and the rest of the Ohio State football staff. I'm just ready to join Buckeye Nation.
"This morning, me and my family had a family meeting, even my little sisters, and my parents asked me where did I want to go. I told them Ohio State. It was a long ride but I'm glad that I finally get to sign."
Even though he committed back on April Fool's Day, it was never thought that Elliott might consider fooling with other options. That all changed two weeks ago when he decided to take an official visit to Missouri, which is his parents' alma mater.
Even then, however, the visit was viewed almost as a token gift to his parents, and not anything for Ohio State to be worried about. However, that token gift became something much more serious when Elliott returned from his visit and shut down all media contact.
"Missouri has been a part of my life for my whole life," he explained.
"My family has strong ties to Missouri. When you donate so much time to a university, you grow to love it. It's just hard to say no to a school that you've been around for so long. I've always been a Tiger and I'll always be a Tiger."
Elliott would have been a tough loss to bear, as the Buckeyes had passed on other running backs following his commitment. Now, however, they will have the opportunity to utilize the skill and playmaking ability that saw him rush for 2,155 yards last year and put up 50 total touchdowns.
Expect to see Elliott be given an opportunity to play early, especially on special teams. He scored six touchdowns via returns last year, and while the Buckeyes might not need help at punt return, the kickoff return unit is screaming for assistance. He could be an instant fix in 2013.
Elliott now caps a skill-laden 2013 class for the Buckeyes, which features coveted wide receivers Jalin Marshall, Corey Smith and James Clark; one of the highest-rated tight ends in America in Marcus Baugh; a slot back in Dontre Wilson who rushed for over 1,800 yards and had over 700 yards receiving; and Elliott, who only proved to be one of the most dynamic high school players in the nation.
Clearly, Urban Meyer will have the team that he has envisioned sooner rather than later, and Elliott will only help that cause.
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