About a year ago, Austin Ekeler had an important decision to make: finish school or prepare for the NFL Draft?
12 months later, we know Ekeler chose the latter.
"I wanted to live out my dream while I was still young and could play," Ekeler said.
However, the decision he made was always in the back of his mind, and during his rookie year, Ekeler decided to act on it when the season ended. That's why he's going back to where it all began, to Western State, to finish his degree this spring.
"It's crazy! I'm going to be sitting in a classroom (for) oil and gas economics. It's nuts because at the last second (last year), I decided to take the semester off and go train for the pro day. I was talking to my advisor and got it all set up. I just have to go to class now. It'll be different to go from football, football, football (and now go) back to school. It'll be interesting."
Upon making the decision to leave school to train for University of Colorado Boulder's pro day, Ekeler was four classes away from graduating with a business degree with an emphasis in energy management. The major may seem atypical for a football player, but it's something that has always piqued the running back's interest.
"I had an internship with Noble Energy a couple years ago so I was originally going into that, but then football happened."
As we know, football did happen. Forgoing his final semester was a gamble that paid off in a big way for number 30. After going undrafted and making the 53-man roster, Ekeler finished his first season with the Bolts amassing 539 total yards with five total touchdowns. The rookie averaged 5.5 yards per carry and 10.3 yards per catch. When all was said and done, he cemented himself as a key cog to the Chargers offense.
While Ekeler looks to build on that in 2018, he'll enter the season having completed his degree. It's something that he stressed was very important to not only him, but his family as well.
"My mom is a teacher so she would hate it (if I didn't finish)! Obviously, because she thinks education is important. I just want to finish it. I went to school for so long that it seems crazy not to go back and finish. I'm just taking advantage of my resources."
Check out the top moments of Austin Ekeler's impressive rookie season.