Going into his third NFL season with the Green Bay Packers, Toledo alum, Jayrone Elliott is beginning to make a name for himself. After not being drafted in the 2014 NFL Draft, Elliott has put his hometown of Cleveland as well as his college home of Toledo, on his back. Elliott finished his collegiate career with 124 tackles and sixteen sacks in his career which was highly productive, both on and off of the field.
Since his college days in Northwest Ohio, Elliott, or 'Bum' as he's referred to, has received national spotlights for his September 20, 2015 performance which consisted of an interception and forced fumble which ended the Seattle Seahawks' final drive leading to a Packers victory on Sunday Night Football.
Elliott has recorded 35 total tackles with three sacks in his two seasons in Green Bay but is seen as a potential breakout player on the Packers' defense this fall. No matter how big Elliott's name is around the NFL, he'll always keep his Cleveland and Toledo roots close to his heart. Elliott makes numerous trips back to Toledo every year, especially following the NFL season and typically makes it to the Glass City for a game or two each fall as well. This season, Elliott is particularly excited about the Toledo Rockets.
"I expect them to continue to be a top-tier team in the Mid-American Conference," Elliott told us, "They should be right where they want to be come November. I look forward to seeing the offense put up great numbers."
The Rockets, who finished 10-2 overall in 2015 including an upset victory on the road at Arkansas. Now, the Rockets look to build the program under first year head coach, Jason Candle, who Elliott, like most players, thinks very highly of.
"I think Coach Candle is poised to lead Toledo to another great season," Elliott told us at Toledo Scout. "He's a younger coach, so it allows him to relate to his players and makes it easier to coach them, he's just an overall great guy," Elliott added.
Elliott, a former defensive lineman himself, has chosen two players he sees as potential breakout stars in 2016.
Adeniyi, a Sugar Land, Texas native who was extremely under-recruited out of George Bush High School is expected to start, or at least see consistent reps, at defensive end for the Rockets this fall.
"Ola (Adeniyi) is very talented and has a knack for getting to a quarterback. He's more comfortable and getting older, I can't wait to watch him shine," Elliott continued.
Despite becoming a bigger name for one of the NFL's most recognizable franchises, Elliott says he will be back to Toledo and that he doesn't lose contact with players and coaches around the Rockets' program.
"I'm not sure when I'll be back (to Toledo), but I'll definitely try to pop up at some point. I have a great relationship with the guys, we all keep in touch through social media."
While there are several things to be excited about when looking at the 2016 Toledo Football program, Elliott says he's extremely excited about one particular position.
"I'm really excited for the wide receivers to show out this year, this might be the deepest bunch since I've been around Toledo," Elliott added.
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The Rocket receiving core, led by now-junior, Cody Thompson as well as senior Corey Jones, will look to breakout under offensive-minded head coach, Jason Candle. Thompson, along with several other players on the team, maintains a very special bond with Elliott and other former Rockets who are now playing in the NFL. Thompson says that it is extremely special to him that big names like 'Bum' still return to the Glass City.
"Jayrone is a great guy and a great friend," Thompson said on his relationship with the Packers' linebacker, "I didn't get the chance to play with him but met him for the first on my official visit and he was just very welcoming and a good guy to be around."
Aside from Thompson, Toledo runningback Terry Swanson says it's great to have a relationship with someone in the NFL.
"It's cool to know someone who is already where you're trying to get, when he comes back it's motivational and inspiring because a guy from your school that you saw play is in the NFL."
For Elliott, he says he still looks back at his days in Toledo as some of the best times in his football career.
"My favorite memories are definitely going to the bowl games and experiencing that with my brothers and also freshman year staying in the dorms," Elliott laughed, "Those were the good days."
The Rockets have sent several players to the National Football League, from Elliott, to Andrew Hawkins, Barry Church, Greg Mancz and several others and nearly all have some sort of relationship with Coach Jason Candle and the Rockets.
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