For Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott, Notre Dame was a ‘dream school'


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott said Notre Dame was his “dream school.” The St. Louis native’s parents both liked what Notre Dame had to offer, especially from an academics standpoint.

So why didn’t the All-American running back wind up in South Bend?

“I kind of felt they wanted me to be more of a defensive player from the coaching staff,” Elliott said.

Notre Dame, Elliott said, wasn’t the only college program that wanted him to play defensive back. His recruitment came down to Ohio State and Missouri, two programs that would’ve had him play running back — “I wasn’t going to play defense in college,” Elliott said — and he hasn’t wavered on feeling like he made the right choice to head east down I-70 to Columbus.

Interestingly enough, Elliott said he was recruited to Notre Dame by Tony Alford, who's now his position coach at Ohio State.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up for the Fiesta Bowl, Notre Dame fans!]  

At Ohio State, Elliott developed into a backfield menace, rushing for 3,812 yards and 39 touchdowns over his three seasons. He said last month he’ll turn pro after the Fiesta Bowl, and he’s expected to be a first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Notre Dame’s defense will have its hands full with him and dual-threat quarterback J.T. Barrett piloting an efficient, powerful offense.

It’s not like Notre Dame has been worse off without Elliott, though. C.J. Prosise exploded for over 1,000 yards this fall, and Josh Adams averaged 7.4 yards per carry as a true freshman and has the look of a future star.

Still, in a conceivable alternate reality, maybe Elliott is playing his final collegiate game for Notre Dame against Ohio State on Friday.

“I don't know what it was about Notre Dame,” Elliott said. “I just always had a love for Notre Dame, the combination of academics, athletics. It's the school I always liked.”

Contact Us