Ezekiel Elliott, Burroughs Wonder-kind football star learned some tough but valuable lessons Saturday. He was one of 90 players selected to play in the 13th annual U.S. Army All-Star football game in San Antonio. These hand-picked stars were the best in the land.
In life, and in sports in general, lessons are plentiful to learn. Athletes have to persevere; fight through injuries, adversity and rejection. Zeke learned some valuable lessons in that 48 minute of competition on the turf of the Alamodome in San Antonio.
He found that even with his bountiful talents, coaches felt others were more needed. Unless viewers had it wrong, No.24 didn’t even get into the game until 3:21 left in the first quarter. He didn’t reappear until midway through the final quarter. The record book will show he carried the ball once for 19 yards in a third and long situation, coming up short of a first down by a couple of yards.
The lack of playing time probably didn’t wear well with the many Burroughs well wishers who gathered for viewing parties. One was at the Hive on Ballas Road in Creve Coeur.
Lack of playing time might turn those Bomber fans into Navy Fans. After all, the U.S. Army sponsors this annual game.
As Zeke painfully found out, only one player can touch the ball at a time. His number was hardly called upon at all.
Obviously, that’s not what he had in mind as he winged his way to Texas Sunday morning. Visions of breaking 100 yards and scoring several TDs were probably rolling around in his head.
In the early part of the week, he was selected as poster boy to show off the new gold Adidas football shoe, worn by all 90 participants.
He helped cut a commercial featuring players from Ohio State, which never made it on the broadcast.
This all has to be disappointing, but these were lessons learned in a highly-competitive situation. When the Ohio State Buckeyes rush out of the tunnel next fall at “The Shoe” in Columbus, Zeke might be dressed in street clothes.
Seems that college coaches tend to red-shirt their stars if they are not figured to be major contributors right away. Obviously, the Bucks have other talented running backs to run the ball. Ladue’s Jehu Chesson, wide receiver learned that, sitting on the sidelines in Ann Arbor this fall.
But Zeke will find his way in life. If he’s the best, he will become a feature back at Ohio State. Coach Urban Meyer knows that all too well. That’s why he was recruited to OSU in the first place.
Either way, Burroughs faithful will be waiting and watching to see what happens next. After all, he’s the most heralded football star in their illustrious history, dating back to the late 1920s.
Zeke, we were all pulling for you. It just seems like your coaches down on the field had other plans on this Saturday in early January.