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Ezekiel Elliott: New Texas assistant Stan Drayton ‘made me into a great player’

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High praise, indeed.

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Notre Dame vs Ohio State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Count Dallas Cowboys star running Ezekiel Elliott as one of the fans of new Texas Longhorns associate head coach/run game coordinator/running backs coach Stan Drayton, who was hired on Tuesday after two seasons with the Chicago Bears.

“Stan Drayton — that’s my guy,” Elliott said during an interview at the NFL Combine last year.

“He was hard on me since I got on campus and he’s really the biggest reason why I’m here today and I’m the back I am today. He made sure when I learned this position that I learned it thoroughly, that I learned not just what I do but what the guys around me do. That made me understand the game so much better. He taught me how to anticipate instead of just going off of reactions and going off of instincts. That made me play faster and made me into a great player.”

So Drayton wasn’t just the coach who was responsible for recruiting Elliott to Columbus out of St. Louis, he was the coach who made a lasting impact on the NFL’s leading rusher.

And the comments from Elliott above aren’t just cliches or typical praise — the former top-100 national prospect seems to truly believe that Drayton had a profound impact on his football career.

For a guy who arrived at Ohio State as immensely talented and successful, the fact that Drayton could help him see the game so much better is impressive.

Running backs coaches aren’t typically known for doing much as coaches beyond ball security, aiming points, and blitz pick up, but Drayton is one of the exceptions to that rule, a major reason why Herman just gave him the largest role of his coaching career.

As a result, expect Drayton to make a positive impact for Texas beyond the recruiting trail, where he’ll likely handle important out-of-state recruitments.