Past Winners

Ezekiel Elliott, 85th Annual AAU Sullivan Award Winner

Ezekiel Elliott, 85th Annual AAU Sullivan Award Winner

Sport: Football

Hometown: St. Louis, MO

Biography: Ezekiel Elliott led Ohio State to win the first College Football Playoff National Championship and set several records in the process. During Ohio State's three-game postseason run, Elliott rushed for 696 yards and eight touchdowns, set five school and bowl game records and earned offensive MVP honors at the Allstate Sugar Bowl and the College Football Playoff National Championship game.

In the Big Ten Championship game where the Buckeyes defeated Wisconsin, 59-0, Elliott led the way, setting a Big Ten Championship game record with 220 rushing yards, along with scoring two touchdowns, one of which was a record setting 81-yard touchdown run.

In the Allstate Sugar Bowl, Ohio State was down 21-6 when they came from behind on the back of Elliott, who had 230 rushing yards. The sophomore running back earned a Sugar Bowl record 85-yard touchdown run with less than four minutes to play, putting Ohio State on top, 42-28. They defeated No. 1 Alabama, 42-35, clinching their spot in the College Football Playoff National Championship.

In the CFP National Championship game, the St. Louis, Missouri native led an offensive charge with an Ohio State record 246 rushing yards and four touchdowns in the 42-20 victory. This performance capped a season that saw him rush for 1,878 yards, the second most in school history. He scored 18 touchdowns while also catching 28 passes for another 220 yards.

When he's not on the football field, he's excelling in the classroom and is contributing his time to his community.

"He absolutely puts his team first and never hesitates to credit his successes to his teammates, especially those on the offensive side of the ball," said Jerry Emig, the Sports Information Director at Ohio State. "Ezekiel is one of the leaders on the team in terms of community service hours and regularly is a part of athlete visits to local hospitals, elementary schools and food pantries."

As a sophomore, Ezekiel was an OSU Scholar-Athlete and an Academic All-Big Ten Conference honoree based on his performance in the classroom.

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The Award

Known as the "Oscar" of sports awards and older than The Heisman, the AAU Sullivan Award honors the outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. It has been presented annually by the AAU since 1930 as a salute to founder and past president of the Amateur Athletic Union, and pioneer in amateur sports, James E. Sullivan. Based on the qualities of leadership, character, sportsmanship, and the ideals of amateurism, the AAU Sullivan Award goes far beyond athletic accomplishments and honors those who have shown strong moral character.


The AAU was founded in 1888 to establish standards and uniformity in amateur sports. During its early years, the AAU served as a leader in international sport representing the U.S. in the international sports federations. The AAU worked closely with the Olympic movement to prepare athletes for the Olympic games. After the Amateur Sports Act of 1978, the AAU has focused its efforts into providing sports programs for all participants of all ages beginning at the grass roots level. The philosophy of "Sports for All, Forever," is shared by over 700,000 participants and over 150,000 volunteers.
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