Elliott: "I Feel Stronger Than Ever."

Ezekiel Elliott grew a ton from the start of the 2014 season to the end, and the Ohio State running back hopes the same happens in 2015 now that he's healthy to begin the campaign.

On Aug. 30, 2014, Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott earned his first-ever start in a scarlet and gray uniform.

He carried for just 44 yards on 12 carries and a score, leaving something to be desired by the Ohio State faithful.

Fourteen games later, Elliott was a household name and had many national writers dubbing him the Heisman favorite entering the 2015 season after three straight 200-yard rushing games, not to mention nearly 1,900 yards on the season.

The now-junior running back has not only been tabbed a Heisman front runner, he was also the subject of an ESPN "E:60" documentary which showed Elliott’s rise to fame over the last season.

Now a leader on the Buckeye offense, Elliott is poised for yet another breakout season. But even so, said he won’t let himself get overconfident.

“The way my parents have raised me, never to be that type of guy. You just have to use what God gifted you with for good and know that at all times, someone is watching you,” Elliott said Wednesday. “At any moment, you could change someone’s day.”

Currently considered the favorite by many to win Heisman, Elliott said it’s more than just his parents who deserve credit for his meteoric rise to the top of college football.

“It's an honor to even be thought of as one of the top Heisman guys in the nation. I can't do anything but thank my O-line; you know my Slobs, they pave the way,” Elliott said. “They made it really easy for me last year.”

One of his lineman from a season ago, senior tackle Taylor Decker, said he has not seen too much of a change in Elliott since breaking onto the national scene.

“He just gets a lot more attention, which, you know, well deserved for his level of play. Everybody knows who he is, he's going to get a ton of attention in the media,” Decker said Wednesday. “People want to know what's going on with him and like I said that's deserving. He's the same kid which is refreshing actually."

While Elliott might be the same person he was a season ago many believe he can be even better than he was a year ago.

According to Decker, whether Elliott improves on last season is largely up to Elliott himself.

“I don't want to say he is going to get better or anything like that, there's just a lot of football to play. A lot of that will be up to him,” Decker said. “I'm going to go do my job and I have all the faith that he is going to go do his job. Do I hope he is going to be a better player? Yeah. I can't really see him dropping off much because I've said it before, last season he was always the same guy people just had to play better around him. I think he'll be fine."

Elliott, who underwent wrist surgery in the offseason, now has both wrists healthy for 2015 and while that should give him the ability to throw a stiff arm, said it initially set him back before camp started.

"I kind of went into camp a little bit heavy. I was like eight pounds over, I was like 230 going into camp,” Elliott said. “That was just from being able to get back lifting and the way I was.”

But now that the season is right around the corner, Elliott said he is confident that he is where he needs to be.

“I'm back to where I should be now, about 225 but I do feel stronger,” he said. “I feel stronger than I've ever been. I feel like I'm in tip-top shape at this moment.”

If that is the case, it could be a big season for Ohio State’s offense.


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