Things You Didn't Know About Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has only been in the NFL for one season, but he's already making lots of headlines, both positive and negative.

The positive headlines boast the fact that the talented player won the league rushing title with 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns to help lead his team to the playoffs.

But all that was overshadowed when TMZ revealed he allegedly exposed a woman's breast — twice — at a Dallas St. Patrick Day's Parade, even though he's under NFL investigation for some alleged off-the-field bad behavior. And that's only the beginning.

Here's a look at things you may not have known about this young athlete.

​Zeke went to a top prep school with lots of famous alumni

Elliott was born on July 22, 1995 and grew up in Alton, Ill., and went to high school across the river in Missouri.

In 2013, Elliott graduated from John Burroughs High School, a swanky private school outside of St. Louis. It's a great academic school, and tuition costs over $25,000 a year. He got good grades, and Suzanne Hamon, his pre-calculus teacher said he could handle pressure even then. "'He responds well to his back up against the wall," she said. "He does a good job with that." His middle-class parents reportedly paid the tuition themselves.

Other famous attendees of the school include actors Jon Hamm and Ellie Kemper, writers William S. Burroughs and Jane Smiley, and Shake Shack owner Danny Meyer.

Elliott was a football star at the school, leading the Bombers to the state championship three years in a row (see highlights here.) Unfortunately, they lost all three times. He also also played high school basketball and won four state track and field titles as a senior.

​Zeke put the student in student-athlete

Elliott's a smart guy. Not only did he go to a high school known for its academics, but he had a 3.0 GPA at The Ohio State University while playing football for the Buckeyes. He majored in marketing and won multiple OSU student athlete awards. In addition, in 2015, he won the AAU Sullivan Award, an honor for "the outstanding amateur athlete whose outstanding athletic accomplishments are complemented by qualities of leadership, character and sportsmanship."

​He ran OSU to a national title — and then nibbled on confetti

Even though OSU had what was described as a "third-string quarterback," they won the national championship in 2015 with Elliott as running back. He had an incredible 696 yards and eight touchdowns in the team's last three games. Then after they won, he tried to eat the confetti.

Elliott ran his mouth at OSU after a tough loss

The following season, though, while OSU went 12-1, they didn't repeat as champs. And he complained about Coach Urban Meyer's play calling after the team's one loss of the year, to Michigan State. "I'm disappointed in the play-calling. I'm disappointed in the situations that we were put in, and I wish it all played out differently," Elliott griped. "It just hurts. It hurts a lot because of how we lost. I feel like we just weren't put in the right opportunity to win this game. We weren't put in the right situations to win this game."

He also revealed he had been in the hospital earlier in the week for a skin infection on his leg, which might have been why he only got to have 11 carries in the game. Elliott ended the press conference by declaring, "This will be my last game in the 'Shoe," announcing that he wouldn't be returning to OSU for his senior season. "There's no chance of me coming back next year." Harsh.

He got into a car accident just before OSU's bowl game

In December 2015, shortly before OSU's appearance in the Fiesta Bowl, Elliott, while driving a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro registered to his father, hit another car in Columbus, Ohio after he said his car hydroplaned from a large puddle.

One of the passengers in the other car "said she felt sore" but otherwise, there were no injuries, according to The Columbus Dispatch. The paper reported Elliott was judged to be at fault for the accident, and he received citations "for driving without a license, for having a suspended license and for failure to control" his vehicle. He later claimed he didn't know his license was suspended.

He was devastated by the suicide of a college teammate

Elliott was friends with Kosta Karageorge, an OSU walk-on player who committed suicide after telling his parents that "concussions had rattled his mind." Elliott wore a towel marked "RIP Kosta" in games and served as a pallbearer at his funeral.

He was the subject of some rumors during college

There was no shortage of rumors about Elliott and his reported drug use at OSU. Ben Allbright, an NFL reporter, appeared on the Philadelphia-based 94WIP Josh Innes Show and talked about those rumors in March 2016, before the NFL Draft. He said (via CBS Local) "There are a lot of rumors floating around about him using party drugs — MDMA, ecstasy, stuff like that — attending raves, and all that kind of stuff," but stressed that there was "Nothing substantiated, a lot of anecdotal."

And Joey Bosa, Elliott's old college roommate who is now playing for the San Diego Chargers, moved out and got his own apartment when they were in college after getting suspended from the team in 2015. ESPN said a source reportedly told them "that the suspensions were due to either marijuana or academics."

Sports Illustrated reported that "Bosa says it was his idea to move out of the apartment." Bosa told the magazine he did it to have what the publication called "zero temptations, zero distractions." Bosa said, "I just thought separating myself — not from Zeke, but just from pretty much everybody in general — and being able to control who goes in and out of my life, I just thought it would be a smart idea to lay low for a while."

The Cowboys surprised everyone by making him the number four pick in the draft

Anybody who follows football knows there are a lot of expectations placed on players who are a high pick, especially since running backs don't usually get usually drafted that high. So Elliott had a lot to live up to when the Cowboys drafted him fourth in the 2016 draft. One sportswriter even gave the Cowboys a "D" for the pick. Elliott really wanted to be a Cowboy no wonder he wore a blue suit to the draft.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told Sports Illustrated's Peter King his thinking with the pick. "I've had my finest hours in business going against the grain," he revealed. "In the oil business, I'm drilling between dry holes trying to make a strike, and everybody around us is laying off geologists. Business is bad. I jump in. Why? The opportunity's good. Buying the Cowboys when I did? Bad business—they were down. Again, opportunity. This decision, this draft, is a little bit contrary, but it's in step with how I think."

Elliott's always eating

The confetti-eating when OSU won the national championship game wasn't the only time Elliott made headlines for eating. He did that same move at the ESPYs, and then munched on some snowflakes with the Dallas Cowboys.

There is also his "feed me" spoon-to-mouth gesture during games, something he started at Ohio State and continued with the Cowboys. Dallas even parodied it in this video.

​This rookie is hurdling over all football expectations

In his first season, Zeke, along with rookie quarterback Dak Prescott, helped change the Cowboys' fortunes from a 4-12 record in 2015 to a 13-3 record in 2016. Elliott even hurdled over players like the track star he once was in high school (as shown in this HS clip).

​He's bringing sexy (or at least the crop top) back

Elliott is known for wearing crop tops to show off his amazing abs. He even wore one to the NFL draft with his suit, something that got so much attention that even the New York Times analyzed his sartorial choices. Elliott started showing off his abs in high school, and was known at Ohio State for the half-shirts.

In addition, he's filed paperwork to trademark "Hero in a half shirt" and "In crop top we trust" for use on apparel.

Zeke is so identified with this look that even Barack Obama joked about it when OSU visited the White House in 2015 after winning the national championship. Big Ten Network reported the conversation:

"Ezekiel Elliott made the NCAA fashion police take a close look at their midriff policies," he joked. "Thanks for tucking in your shirt today. We appreciate that."

Elliott responded: "You need to get that rule changed." The president replied: "He said I need to get the rule changed. Look, I already got the playoff. I got other stuff to do now."

​Even the NFL was okay with him jumping into the Salvation Army kettle

The NFL is sometimes called the "No Fun League" because of the way it cracks down on player celebrations. Normally, NFL stars get fined for showboating, But when Elliott jumped into the massive red Salvation Army kettle in the back of the end zone at AT&T Stadium to celebrate a touchdown shortly before Christmas in 2016, he only got a personal foul in the game for using a prop during a celebration, but he didn't get fined for it.

Maybe it's because his stunt gave the charity $4 million in media exposure and raised at least $250,000 in donations for the Salvation Army, many of them by fans giving $21 in honor of Zeke's uniform number. He also donated $21,000 to the charity. And the Salvation Army displayed the kettle at Dallas' NorthPark Center, where fans could take selfies with it.

​He's awaiting possible disciplinary action from the NFL

In 2016, a woman named Tiffany Thompson accused Elliott of domestic violence, both in Ohio and Florida. She also posted images of bruises that she alleged were from him, then later made her Instagram account private. He denied the charges.

Both the Florida and Ohio jurisdictions declined to press charges against him. The Columbus prosecutor's office cited "conflicting and inconsistent information." but the report they released  included texts in which Elliott allegedly talked with Thompson about needing to pass an NFL drug test, reportedly writing, "About to live in this sauna the next 24 hours." In addition, Deadspin also reported that a sworn statement in the case by one of the witnesses claimed that Thompson asked her to lie about what happened.

But the NFL is still reportedly investigating both incidents and could still potentially punish him under their personal conduct policy.

The exact nature of the relationship between Thompson and Elliott is unclear. According to ESPN, "Elliott and his parents contend that Thompson and Elliott never had a serious relationship, even though he paid for her apartment and co-signed for her car loan. 'He cared about her,' his father told ESPN. 'He was trying to help her.'"

He was like Beyonce when it came to a big award

Ezekiel Elliott won a number of Rookie of the Year honors, and even the Fed Ex Air and Ground Player Of The Year Award voted on by fans. But his teammate and good friend, QB Dak Prescott, beat him out for the league's Offensive Rookie of the Year Award at the NFL Honors event in February. Yet when Prescott accepted, he called Elliott up on stage with him and asked, "Do we have a knife so I can cut this in half?"

It's shades of Adele wanting to share her Grammy for Album of the Year with Beyonce.

The QB also spent as much time talking about Elliott as he did himself, saying: "He deserves it just as much as I do from his yards, his catches, the way we handled things in the backfield, it was always together ... without Zeke, I don't win that."

He was spotted at a Seattle marijuana dispensary

TMZ acquired photos of Elliott in the pot palace, as well as him posing with a fan outside the shop, called Herban Legends, in the summer of 2016. While he was not seen buying anything, and it's legal to smoke marijuana in Washington, the NFL doesn't allow marijuana use. And it's kind of dumb for a player to pose for pix with anybody anywhere near such a place. Rookie mistake?

​His dog Ace is his BFF

Elliott's Rottweiller is getting almost as famous as Elliott is. Zeke wore cleats with his dog's face on them to draw attention to the SPCA last year as part of the NFL's "My Cause, My Cleats" campaign, and says the pooch is his "best friend."

He also sponsored $21 pet adoptions. Oh, and Ace has an Instagram account, too. Zeke has another dog named Chase, that somebody even tried to steal. Thanks to Elliot's Buckeye star power, word spread quickly and most of Columbus spent the day searching for his pup, which was found chained to a fence.

​He used his first NFL paycheck to buy his parents a new house

In 2016 when he started getting the first paychecks from his $24.9 million NFL contract, Zeke bought his parents a house in the St. Louis area. Elliott is very close with Stacy and Dawn, his mom and dad, as well as his two younger sisters. His parents also played college sports.They both went to Missouri, where she played track, and he football. His father is acting as his manager and even moved to Columbus, Ohio when Zeke was at OSU.

He wore an orange wristband as a tribute to a child with cancer

Elliott is known for his flashy ways, but he did a quiet gesture all season with the Dallas Cowboys. He wore an orange wristband on his right wrist all year. The Washington Post wrote about how Halle Silver, a 14-year-old girl from Massachusetts, contacted him via Instagram in 2016 to tell him about her 16-year-old brother Jake, who is fighting osteosarcoma. Jake played high school football but could no longer do so, and the family were Buckeye fans, thanks to their step-grandfather, Steve Crapser, who played on the 1968 national championship team. She told him about the orange wristbands the family made up for him, which said "Silver Strong."

The Post recounted that Elliott wrote her back, saying "I want one of those bands!!" and to "Send me a bunch. I'll wear it all season." The article said, "Stunned, she typed back, 'Is this actually u?' 'I think I'm real,' Elliott responded. 'I cried my eyes out,' she recalled."

Elliott kept his word, and wore the band all season. "Part of being a fan is they want to feel involved," Elliott explained to the Dallas Morning News, "like they're there. It's inspirational for him to see me out there having the year I am, wow, wearing something that's personal and close to him — I feel like we kind of have a connection there. [Silver] feels like he's a part of it. He feels like he's there with me."

Is it time for Elliott to grow up a little?

Nobody doubts Ezekiel Elliott's skills on the field. It is his alleged off-the-field actions that have alarmed people in the football world. After the story broke about him allegedly pulling up a woman's shirt at a St. Patrick's Day parade, NFL analyst Chris Spielman, who also played at OSU, lashed out at him, saying, "I want people to stop saying he's a 'young man'... There comes a point in time when we all know right from wrong. At what point is it okay to pull some woman's shirt down in public?"

Fox Sports' Shannon Sharpe, also an ex-player, said, "Wherever this young man is, be it the Cowboys or any of the other 31 teams, the head coach and the general manager will never, ever be able to put their phone on silent as long as he's on their roster. Because there's always the potential, the possibility or probability that you're going to get a phone call."

On the other hand, David Whitley of the Orlando Sentinel pointed out the the New England Patriots' Rob Gronkowski has exhibited some of the same behavior, and people excuse it as "it's just Gronk being Gronk." Incidentally, in 2015, TMZ also showed video of Gronk "motor-boating" a pair of breasts at a nightclub.

Maybe Elliott needs a "common sense coach." That's what Ben Frederickson of his hometown site thinks. "What Elliott seems to be missing — and his biggest weakness might be his only one — is the self preservation trait every star must have in today's society. This is where a common sense coach could come in handy."