Austin Ekeler
refer to caption
Ekeler with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2021
No. 30 – Los Angeles Chargers
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born: (1995-05-17) May 17, 1995 (age 27)
Lincoln, Nebraska[1]
Height:5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight:200 lb (91 kg)
Career information
High school:Eaton (Eaton, Colorado)
College:Western Colorado (2013–2016)
Undrafted:2017
Career history
As a player:
As an executive:
Roster status:Active
Career NFL statistics as of Week 2, 2022
Rushing yards:2,887
Rushing average:4.5
Rushing touchdowns:21
Receptions:295
Receiving yards:2,817
Receiving touchdowns:24
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Austin Ekeler (born May 17, 1995) is an American football running back for the Los Angeles Chargers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Western Colorado and signed with the Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2017.[2]

Early years

Ekeler attended Eaton High School in Eaton, Colorado, where he played high school football for The Fightin' Reds.[3]

College career

Ekeler attended and played college football at Western Colorado from 2013–2016.[4]

As a freshman, Ekeler started nine games. He led the team with 1,049 rushing yards to go along with seven rushing touchdowns. As a sophomore, he had 14 rushing touchdowns and set school records with 1,676 rushing yards, 2,093 total all-purpose yards, and 190.3 all-purpose yards per game. As a junior, he had 19 rushing touchdowns and led Division II in all-purpose yards per game with 203.9 and scoring, averaging 12.6 points per game.[5] As a senior, he had 1,495 rushing yards and 15 rushing touchdowns.[6]

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight 40-yard dash 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump
5 ft 8+58 in
(1.74 m)
198 lb
(90 kg)
4.48 s 4.28 s 6.92 s 40.5 in
(1.03 m)
10 ft 8 in
(3.25 m)
All values from Pro Day[7][8]

Ekeler signed a three-year, $1.66 million contract that includes a $5,000 signing bonus with the Los Angeles Chargers as an undrafted free agent following the 2017 NFL Draft.[9]

In March 2020, Ekeler, as a restricted free agent running back, agreed to a 4-year, $24.5 million deal.[10] The contract includes $15 million guaranteed. Ekeler can become a free agent after the 2023 season.[11]

2017

In the season opening 24–21 loss to the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football, Ekeler had two receptions for 18 yards in his NFL debut.[12] In Week 4, against the Philadelphia Eagles, he had his first career touchdown, a 35-yard rush, on his first NFL carry.[13] On November 12, against the Jacksonville Jaguars, he had 10 carries for 42 yards to go along with five receptions for 77 receiving yards and two touchdowns.[14] Overall, he finished his rookie season with 260 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, 27 receptions, 279 receiving yards, and three receiving touchdowns.[15]

2018

In the 2018 season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, Ekeler had 39 rushing yards to go along with five receptions for 87 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown in the 38–28 loss.[16] He scored a receiving touchdown in Weeks 4 and 5 against the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders.[17][18] In Week 14, against the Cincinnati Bengals, he aggravated a neck injury, which sidelined him for two games.[19] He returned for the regular season finale against the Denver Broncos and scored a rushing touchdown.[20] Overall, in the 2018 season, he finished with 554 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns, 39 receptions, 404 receiving yards, and three receiving touchdowns.[21] The Chargers earned the #5-seed for the AFC Playoffs.[22] In the Wild Card Round against the Baltimore Ravens, he had 43 scrimmage yards in the 23–17 victory.[23] In the Divisional Round against the New England Patriots, he had three receptions for 19 yards in the 41–28 loss.[24]

2019

Ekeler began the season as the starter while Melvin Gordon was in a contract dispute. In Week 1, Ekeler rushed 12 times for 58 yards and the game-winning touchdown, in addition to catching six passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns in the 30–24 overtime win over the Indianapolis Colts.[25][26] In Week 2 against the Detroit Lions, he rushed 17 times for 66 yards and a touchdown with additional work in the receiving game, recording six receptions for 67 in the team's 10–13 loss to the Lions.[27] In Week 3 against the Houston Texans, Ekeler rushed nine times for 36 yards and caught seven receptions for 45 yards.[28] In Week 4 against the Miami Dolphins, Ekeler rushed 18 times for 60 yards and one touchdown and caught five passes for 62 yards and one touchdown in the 30–10 win.[29] During Week 7 against the Tennessee Titans, Ekeler had only seven rushing yards but had 118 receiving yards as the Chargers lost 20–23.[30] In Week 11 against the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football, Ekeler rushed five times for 24 yards and caught eight passes for 108 yards in the 24–17 loss.[31] During Week 14 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Ekeler finished with 101 rushing yards on just eight carries, with four receptions for 112 receiving yards, and a touchdown as the Chargers won 45-10.[32] He was the sixth player ever, and the first since Herschel Walker in 1986, to average over 10 yards per carry and reception in a 100/100 game;[33] it was only the fourth 100/100 game of the decade.[34] Overall, he finished the 2019 season with 557 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns to go along with 92 receptions for 993 receiving yards and eight receiving touchdowns.[35]

2020

On March 16, 2020, Ekeler signed a four-year $24.5 million contract extension with the Chargers.[36] In Week 2 against the Kansas City Chiefs, Ekeler rushed 16 times for 93 yards and caught 4 passes for 55 yards during the 23–20 overtime loss.[37] In Week 3 against the Carolina Panthers, Ekeler recorded 143 yards from scrimmage and a rushing touchdown during the 21–16 loss.[38] In Week 4, Ekeler suffered a hamstring injury and a hyperextended knee and was expected to miss four to six weeks. He was placed on injured reserve on October 9, 2020.[39] He was activated on November 28, 2020.[40] Ekeler made his return from injury in Week 12 against the Buffalo Bills. During the game, he recorded 44 rushing yards and 85 receiving yards during the 27–17 loss.[41] In Week 14 against the Atlanta Falcons, he recorded 146 yards from scrimmage during the 20–17 win.[42]

2021

Ekeler tallied 206 attempts for 911 yards during the 2021 season.[43] In addition to scoring 12 rushing touchdowns, Ekeler also caught 8 touchdowns.[44] With 20 total touchdowns, Ekeler joined Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson as the only two players in Chargers franchise history to score that many touchdowns in a single season.[45] Ekeler, along with Colts running back Jonathan Taylor, led the NFL in touchdowns.[46]

NFL career statistics

Regular Season
Year Team Games Rushing Receiving Fumbles
GP GS Att Yds Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Fum Lost
2017 LAC 16 0 47 260 5.5 35T 2 27 279 10.3 38 3 2 2
2018 LAC 14 3 106 554 5.2 41 3 39 404 10.4 44T 3 1 1
2019 LAC 16 8 132 557 4.2 35 3 92 993 10.8 84T 8 3 2
2020 LAC 10 10 116 530 4.6 27 1 54 403 7.5 28 2 1 0
2021 LAC 16 16 206 911 4.4 28 12 70 647 9.2 40 8 4 3
Career 72 37 607 2,812 4.6 41 21 282 2,726 9.7 84T 24 11 8

Postseason

Year Team Games Rushing Receiving Fumbles
GP GS Att Yds Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Fum Lost
2018 LAC 2 0 11 29 2.6 7 0 7 33 4.7 9 0 0 0
Career 2 0 11 29 2.6 7 0 7 33 4.7 9 0 0 0

[47]

Personal life

Austin Ekeler's younger brother, Wyett Ekeler, plays football at the University of Wyoming.[48] His mother is Suzanne Ekeler.[49]

In 2021, Austin Ekeler started the Austin Ekeler Foundation[50] with the mission is "to help create opportunities for people to fulfill their passions and ultimately their lives."[51]

References

  1. ^ "From Friday night lights to a chance to shine on Sundays: Eaton's Austin Ekeler has used influence of mother, family, friends, community and skeptics to realize his NFL dream". Retrieved October 11, 2019.
  2. ^ "Eaton's Austin Ekeler signs NFL undrafted free agent deal with Los Angeles Chargers". GreeleyTribune.com. April 29, 2017.
  3. ^ Fernandez, Bobby (September 2, 2017). "Eaton's Austin Ekeler makes Los Angeles Chargers roster; Northern Colorado's Kyle Sloter released by Denver Broncos". Greeley Tribune. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  4. ^ Fredrickson, Kyle (January 14, 2018). "D-II to NFL: How Western State's Austin Ekeler came to thrive for Los Angeles Chargers". The Denver Post. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  5. ^ "Austin Ekeler - 2016 Football". Western State Athletics. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  6. ^ "Austin Ekeler: Stats & Rankings, Western State RB". herosports.com. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  7. ^ "Pro day results: Oklahoma, Colorado, Temple, Kentucky". NFL.com. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  8. ^ "2017 NFL Draft Prospects - Last Name E". insider.espn.com. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  9. ^ Henne, Ricky (May 1, 2017). "Chargers Agree to Terms with 15 Undrafted Free Agents". Chargers.com. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  10. ^ "Newly extended Chargers RB Austin Ekeler reflects on undrafted past". ESPN.com. August 14, 2020. Retrieved April 24, 2022.
  11. ^ "Report: Chargers, RB Ekeler agree to $24.5M deal". Reuters. March 6, 2020. Retrieved April 24, 2022.
  12. ^ "Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos - September 11th, 2017". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 7, 2017.
  13. ^ "Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Chargers - October 1st, 2017". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
  14. ^ "Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars - November 12th, 2017". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  15. ^ "Austin Ekeler 2017 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  16. ^ "Chargers' Austin Ekeler: Gains 126 yards from scrimmage". CBSSports.com. September 9, 2018. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  17. ^ Arnold, Geoffrey C. (September 30, 2018). "Los Angeles Chargers squeeze past the San Francisco 49ers: Game recap, score, stats". OregonLive.com. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  18. ^ Reedy, Joe (October 8, 2018). "Rivers throws for 339 yards, 2 TDs as Chargers beat Raiders". AP NEWS. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  19. ^ "Chargers' Austin Ekeler: Aggravates neck injury". CBSSports.com. December 9, 2018. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  20. ^ "Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos - December 30th, 2018". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  21. ^ "Austin Ekeler 2018 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  22. ^ "2018 Los Angeles Chargers Statistics & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  23. ^ "Wild Card - Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens - January 6th, 2019". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  24. ^ "Divisional Round - Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots - January 13th, 2019". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  25. ^ "Austin Ekeler does Melvin Gordon imitation, meaning Chargers don't miss holdout back". Los Angeles Times. September 9, 2019. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  26. ^ "Ekeler scores 3 TDs in Chargers 30-24 OT win over Colts". www.espn.com. Associated Press. September 8, 2019. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  27. ^ "Austin Ekeler Player Profile". Rotoworld. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
  28. ^ "Chargers Austin Ekeler Slowed Down by Texans". www.cbssports.com. September 22, 2019. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
  29. ^ "Long time coming: Rivers, Chargers beat Dolphins, 30-10". www.espn.com. Associated Press. September 29, 2019. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  30. ^ "Casey recovers fumble, Titans hold off Chargers' rally 23-20". www.espn.com. Associated Press. October 20, 2019. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  31. ^ "Mahomes, Chiefs hold off Chargers 24-17 in Mexico City". www.espn.com. Associated Press. November 18, 2019. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  32. ^ "Chargers end skid, hand Jaguars 5th straight lopsided loss". www.espn.com. Associated Press. December 8, 2019. Retrieved December 8, 2019.
  33. ^ "100/100 games with 10+ yds/carry and reception". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  34. ^ "Players with 100/100 games". pro-football-reference.com.. The others were Christian McCaffrey in 2018, Todd Gurley in 2017, and Arian Foster in 2011.
  35. ^ "Austin Ekeler 2019 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 6, 2020.
  36. ^ Shook, Nick (March 6, 2020). "Chargers, Austin Ekeler agree to 4-year, $24.5M deal". NFL.com.
  37. ^ "Butker good from 58 in OT, Chiefs survive Herbert's LA debut". ESPN.com. Associated Press. September 20, 2020. Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  38. ^ "Carolina Panthers at Los Angeles Chargers - September 27th, 2020". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved September 28, 2020.
  39. ^ "Austin Ekeler Placed on Injured Reserve". Chargers.com. October 9, 2020.
  40. ^ "Los Angeles Chargers Activate Austin Ekeler from Injured Reserve". Chargers.com. November 28, 2020. Retrieved January 5, 2021.
  41. ^ "Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo Bills - November 29th, 2020". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  42. ^ "Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Chargers - December 13th, 2020". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
  43. ^ "Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers, RB - News, Stats, Bio". CBSSports.com. Retrieved April 24, 2022.
  44. ^ "Austin Ekeler Stats, News, Bio". ESPN. Retrieved April 24, 2022.
  45. ^ "10 Insights: Austin Ekeler Finishes 2021 Season With Hall of Fame Company". www.chargers.com. Retrieved April 24, 2022.
  46. ^ "NFL Touchdown Leaders 2021". StatMuse. Retrieved April 24, 2022.
  47. ^ "Austin Ekeler: Career Stats at NFL.com". www.nfl.com. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  48. ^ "Wyatt Ekeler - Football". University of Wyoming Athletics. Retrieved February 20, 2022.
  49. ^ "How Chargers' Austin Ekeler uses bond with mom to prove doubters wrong". ESPN.com. December 16, 2021. Retrieved February 20, 2022.
  50. ^ "Austin Ekeler Pays it Forward With Newly Launched Foundation". www.chargers.com. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  51. ^ "Austin Ekeler Foundation – Creating Opportunities". Retrieved April 23, 2022.