OSU’s Ezekiel Elliott has practical reason for hurdling more tacklers

Running back Ezekiel Elliott #15 of the Ohio State Buckeyes scores a 33 yard touchdown in the first quarter against the Oregon Ducks during the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium on January 12, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Ezekiel Elliott not only has a practical reason for adding more hurdles to his array of moves on the football field.

He also might be genetically inclined to do it.

First there was the explanation for why the Ohio State running back leapt over two would-be tacklers as the Buckeyes beat Western Michigan last weekend:

"My first time hurdling someone in football was last year when we played Alabama," Elliott said. "This year, it seems like it’s been a real emphasis from defenses to cut tackle me. I’m tired of taking those shots to the leg, those thigh bruises, so I decided to go up top a couple times."

Then came more background via ESPN.com, which caught up with Elliott’s mother — who just happened to be a former track standout at Missouri.

Dawn Elliott pointed out her son used to actually run the hurdles in high school but had not done it on the football field during his prep days.

"I was laughing and asked him about it after the game Saturday, and he said he had always just been scared to do it," she said. "He did not do that in high school or any other time he played, but I mean, it doesn’t surprise me, because Ezekiel is a very good athlete, just very athletic."