Jake Elliott, a rookie, will kick for the Eagles in the Super Bowl. He’s become one of the most effective long-distance scorers of this season.
He has missed only five field goals in his 15 games. Elliott, a fifth-round pick in 2017, took over in September after a season-ending injury to Caleb Sturgis.
Here’s more about Elliott and his career:
1. Elliott Joined the Eagles in 2017
On September 12, 2017, Philadelphia signed Elliott off the Bengals’ practice squad after the Eagles’ starting kicker, Caleb Sturgis, was placed on Injured reserve. Since then, Elliott has proven to be a difference-maker for Philadelphia.
His first NFL appearance came in Week 2 of the 2017 season against the Kansas City Chiefs — converting both extra point attempts and two out of three field goal attempts.
On September 24, 2017, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Elliott kicked a 61-yard field goal to beat the New York Giants on the final play of the game, resulting in a 27–24 victory, earning him NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. The field goal was record-setting: it was tied for the 7th-longest field goal in NFL history, and the longest since November 2015. It was also the longest field goal in Eagles history, the longest ever kicked in Philadelphia in an NFL game, and the longest ever by an NFL rookie.
This season he nailed 83.9 percent of his field-goal attempts, including 89.4 percent of his kicks from 40-plus yards out (12 of 13 from 40-49 yards, 5 of 6 from 50-plus).
Elliott frequently posts about football and his personal life on social media, he’s currently dating Annie Timyan.
2. Elliott Didn’t Play Football Until His Junior Year in High School
Elliott took an interesting path to the NFL. He attended Lyons Township High School in La Grange, Illinois where he was a competitive tennis player. He was considered one of the best youth tennis players in the state.
Elliot began playing football when a Lyons assistant coach noticed Elliott’s talent during a Homecoming contest. He began to kick for the team his junior year, which was his first time playing organized football. Elliott began making an impact on the team right away.
“Junior year I had a pretty big year there,” Elliott told My Suburban Life. “After the season I started hearing some buzz and thought this could turn into something.”
Elliott played two years for the Lions and excelled. During his senior season, he was named Second-Team kicker for Kohl’s All America List, after making 15 of 21 field-goal attempts.
“He’s got a great ability to focus, and you could see it,” Lyons tennis coach Bill Wham recently told the Chicago Tribune. “How did he develop that? He was a terrific tennis player, and he could close matches out. If you can’t close matches out, you’re not a good tennis player.
“Those kinds of things carry over. He looks down, he sees the ball, and each kick is a normal kick. I think that’s amazing.”
3. Elliott Played at the University of Memphis
Following his high school career, Elliott was offered a full scholarship by the University of North Dakota and the University of Memphis.
In his sophomore year, he led the American Athletic Conference in per game scoring, averaging 9.2 points throughout his season. For the second year in a row he was named First Team All-Conference as well as being named Conference Special Teams Player of the Year.
Elliott kicked for four seasons at Memphis, where he made all 202 extra-point attempts and converted almost 78 percent of his field goals.
4. Elliott Taught Tennis to Kids for the Western Springs Park District
In high school, Elliott taught tennis to kids for the Western Springs Park District.
As the Chicago Tribune recently recounted, a student who made a lasting impression was Kelli O’Laughlin.
“She was a couple of years younger than me, but we both were big tennis players and I had the opportunity to coach her a little bit,’’ Elliott told the paper.
In October 2011, the 14-year-old was murdered at her family’s home during a burglary. The tragedy impacted Elliott as a teenager and continues to affect him. After the Eagles beat the Vikings in the NFC Championship to advance to the Super Bowl, Elliott announced on Twitter that proceeds from sales of T-shirts at his personal website — jakeelliott4.com — would go to the Kelli Joy Foundation in O’Laughlin’s name.
5. Patriots Kicker Stephen Gostkowski Mentored Elliott
The two players kicking in the Super Bowl came from the University of Memphis and developed a friendship. Gostkowski, who was a two-time all-conference kicker, was a mentor for Elliott.
“Kicking in front of him for the first time was probably more pressure than any game I’ll ever kick in,” Elliott told USA Today. “It was really, really special and I’m glad to have met him so early on in my career.”
Gostkowski offered support to Elliott as he was navigating the NFL Draft and the pressures that follow.
“I’m no expert but I knew that he’d have a good chance to play in the NFL,” Gostkowski told USA Today. “It was … not humbling, but it was an eye-opener to see like, man, this guy’s in college going into his (sophomore) year and he’s toe to toe, step to step, even probably kicking better than me some days. When I saw him kick in person, I was like, this guy’s definitely going to have a good shot.”