Ellerbe set at outside linebacker

ATHENS – Make no mistake about it – Dannell Ellerbe will play outside linebacker next season.

The linebacker position is stacked at Georgia. Odell Thurman's decision regarding the NFL Draft could help this unit be the top in the country next season, if he returns and Tony Taylor returns to form from an ACL injury he suffered from last year.

Ellerbe would compete with Taylor and the rest of the outside linebackers for playing time. According to the redshirt freshman, learning is critical in the first year of college.

"Things have been going well," said the North Carolina native. "I have been learning the system and the ins and outs of everything. It's going very well."

Ellerbe, who was buried behind significant talent in the outside linebacker depth chart, said he was actually pleased to sit this year out.

"I wasn't disappointed to get redshirted because I told them when I came in that I wanted to be redshirted," Ellerbe said. "They wanted me to play, but I just wanted to redshirt because I didn't know what I was doing."

Ellerbe's body is maturing at a rate many in the program are pleased with. He was seen as being too undersized when he entered the Bulldog program in the summer of 2004. But now his progress in putting on weight is evident.

"I've gained weight since I got here," he said. "Right now I am at 216. I started at 196. The weight came all of the sudden. It was just like a little spurt two weeks ago. I was not even paying any attention to it."

The added mass has not depressed the athletic defender's speed.

"I haven't gotten any slower," Ellerbe said with a chuckle.

"I am just trying to learn right now, and when I learn the system – that's all I have to do is learn it – the coaches told me when I learn it I will play," he said.

Ellerbe also confirmed his status as an outside linebacker in the future.

"There's nothing to talk about – no talk – I'll be at outside linebacker," Dannell Ellerbe said on Wednesday. Recruiting analysts were not certain if he would slide back to the secondary or add weight and play linebacker.

His former teammate and current Georgia commitment Jamar Bryant is still in Virginia at Hargrave Military Academy. But things don't appear to be going as well as planned for the wide receiver.

"The last time I heard about him he had four broken ribs. I don't know what happened to him. I think he is supposed to take his visit when we play Georgia Tech," he said.

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