Ezekiel Elliott was born on July 22, 1995, in Alton, Illinois. The running back was raised by his parents, Stacy Elliott and Dawn Huff Elliott, along with his two younger sisters, Lailah and Aaliyah. Elliott’s whole family are athletes, with his father playing college football while his mother was a track and field star.
Here’s what you need to know about Ezekiel Elliott’s family:
1. Ezekiel Elliott Was Born in Illinois & Attended Private School in St. Louis as His Parents Wanted Him to Get a Great Education
Elliott was born in Alton, Illinois, where he attended a few years of elementary school before moving to St. Louis and attending John Burroughs Prep, a private high school in St. Louis, the Telegraph reported.
While at John Burroughs, Elliott was a three-sport athlete, playing football, basketball, and running track. His parents, Stacy and Dawn Elliott, put their children’s education first and shared that they made some sacrifices in order to give their children better opportunities.
“Dawn and I sacrificed to provide a high-quality education for Ezekiel and his sisters,” Stacy Elliott told 5 Points Blue, according to Cleveland.com. “We’re a middle-class family trying to provide an upper-class education and lifestyle for our children.”
He shared that Elliott attended private school throughout high school, and most of the family’s money went toward the children’s education. “We didn’t drive the best cars,” he added. “We didn’t go on fine trips or live in big houses. Most of our money went to the children. Our family vacations were AAU national track championships held in places across the country.”
2. Ezekiel Elliott’s Father Stacy Elliott Played College Football & Worked With Ohio State to Help Parents With Recruitment
Elliott followed in his father’s footsteps when he decided to focus on football, as Stacy Elliott was a football player at the University of Missouri, the Telegraph wrote. While in college, he studied history, sociology, and community development, according to his LinkedIn.
Stacy Elliott has been entrenched in the football world throughout his career and worked with Ohio State to help the college speak to recruits and their parents about the process. “I didn’t know that when I came to Columbus that coach Urban Meyer would ask me and my family to help,” Stacy Elliott told Cleveland.com. “It was not something I brought to him, but Coach Meyer and I have a developing relationship and that relationship is based on that I saw how much he cares about his student athletes.”
“He puts in a lot of time to better the situation of the athletes who come in,” Elliott’s father added. “When he asked me to talk to families about the process, that’s how I got involved.”
Stacy Elliott now runs a sports management agency named The Fifth Down, his LinkedIn profile shows, which he launched in 2015. “Football and leadership have always been important to me, leading to my current business venture Fifth Down Management,” he indicated in his bio. “Fifth Down Management is ‘The Management Company that has your brand in mind!’”
He is very supportive of his son’s NFL career and knew from the moment Elliott was very young that he had something special. “The first time I noticed potential greatness in Ezekiel, I remember he was 7 years old playing little league football,” Stacy Elliott told BOSSIP. “From the beginning, he played running back, and it seemed like every time he touched the rock, he would take it to the house.”
Stacy Elliott added that the main advice he’s given his son throughout the years is to “demand greatness [of] himself and greatness in everything he does. Work hard, be a grinder,” he told the outlet. Despite knowing that Elliott is a “great football player,” his father said he’s a “nervous wreck” before watching any of his son’s games.
“I have my own ritual,” he told BOSSIP. “I don’t really like to talk to a lot of people… It is strenuous, too, because you start experiencing this in college, but in the NFL definitely, all your family, they want tickets, ‘where y’all gonna be at?’ Being a parent with sons like we have, we have media people trying to get at us. We just want to enjoy the game.”
3. Ezekiel Elliott’s Mother Is Dawn Huff Elliott, a 3-Sport Athlete & University of Missouri Track & Field Star
Elliott’s mother, like his father, was also a talented high school and collegiate athlete. Dawn Elliott, née Huff, attended Mount Ayr High School, where she was a track and field star as well as an all-state basketball and softball player, according to Creston News Advertiser.
She graduated from Mount Ayr in 1990 and was later inducted into the Mount Ayr Community Schools Hall of Fame for outstanding achievement in athletics. According to her bio on the Hall of Fame website, one of the school’s coaches called Elliott’s mother the “best all-around female athlete to graduate from Mount Ayr.” In 1990, she was named the Des Moines Register’s 1990 female high school athlete of the year.
After high school, she attended the University of Missouri and was on the track and field team, where she excelled in the 100m hurdles, shuttle hurdle relay, long jump, triple jump, javelin throw, and heptathlon, her Hall of Fame profile adds. Elliott’s parents met when they were both at Mizzou.
The athleticism on his mother’s side of the family stretched back to Elliott’s maternal grandfather, Leon Huff, who was a basketball star at Alton High in the late 1960s. He played at Drake University and was named to the school’s all-decade team of the 1970s, the Des Moines Register reported.
Dawn Elliott described her son in 2015 as “a bit goofy” and told the Register, “He’s a big kid at heart.” She said she wasn’t worried about how he’d handle the pressure of the NFL and added, “I still see the little boy who used to ball up a pair of socks to make a ball. If he didn’t have a ball to play with, he’d make one.”
4. Ezekiel Elliott Has 2 Younger Sisters Who Are Also Talented Athletes
Elliott has two younger sisters, Lailah and Aaliyah Elliott, both of whom were also standout athletes. Lailah Elliott, who attended John Burroughs School like her brother, graduated in 2017 and then attended Ohio State University.
She studied strategic communications and was a member of the college’s track and field team before graduating in 2020, her LinkedIn shows. She’s now a law student at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Elliott’s youngest sister Aaliyah Elliott is a track and field athlete set to graduate from John Burroughs in 2024, her Twitter profile shows. She’s also an Instagram influencer with over 20,000 followers.
5. Ezekiel Elliott Bought a House in St. Louis for His Parents & Praised His Mother for Her Support
Elliott’s parents sacrificed a lot for him and the NFL star repaid them as best he could as soon as he signed his first NFL contract with the Dallas Cowboys. He bought his parents a home in St. Louis, where he grew up and where his family still lives. “It just feels really good to reward my mom,” Elliott told SportsDay, according to WBNS. “The hard work [my mother] put in raising me and all she sacrificed, finally being able to do something for her for the first time feels really good.”
Elliott often posts photos with his mother on Instagram, showing his love for her and sharing how important she is in his life. “25 years ago you birth me onto this earth,” he captioned one photo. “… And [ever] since that day you have been giving me the world. So today I wanna thank you for your unconditional love and all the work you put into making me into the man I am today.”