Top DT Has Other Priorities

To an outsider, Kenrick Ellis has it all going for him. His team is currently undefeated and storming towards a chance to win a district championship. His name is all over the newspapers and the Internet.

His phone won't stop ringing at night, thanks to college coaches from all over trying to convince him to come to their school. To Ellis, there's one big hole in the middle of it all.

"Man, it all looks good but it's all about grades right now," Ellis said. "I got a 2.2 core and got just an 860 on my first test. I'm really struggling with it. I wish I knew back in 9th grade that I would have this opportunity one day. Now it's coming back to haunt me. I can't go back and change what I did as a 9th or 10th grader. I just gotta do what I can do right now. When you're younger you dont think about the SAT's and the NCAA clearinghouse and things like that. I'm finding out the hard way right now though."

Kenrick Ellis, 6-5 and 325 pounds, is one of the most talented defensive tackle prospects in the entire state. His future, however, is in doubt because of his academic situation.

"I've started going to classes on Saturday mornings and I really have picked up with the studying," he said. "Man, to have a chance to go to college on a football scholarship, that would mean so much to me and my family. I just gotta keep working hard at getting those grades."

The Lake Worth (Fla.) John I. Leonard standout has been the center of attention in the middle of the defense this season.

"I guess everyone knows about me because the way I'm being recruited or something," he said. "I don't see it like that. I'm one of 11 guys out there. It's a team effort. We're in this together. I dont have a lot of tackles and sacks yet but I'm drawing a lot of double teams and the linebackers are cleaning everything up. Markus (White) is by far our best defensive player right now. He's an animal out there. His motor never stops and he's been unblockable all year. He deserves a lot of credit."

Ellis is still getting recruited as one of the state's top prospects. He talked about the latest.

"Right now, I'm not really caring too much about recruiting because I'm trying to get my grades right," he said. "I'm not even thinking about taking any visits because I don't wanna even miss a single day of school."

The talented defender did get a chance to check out the Florida/Tennessee game earlier this month. He came away impressed.

"Oh man, that was a great game," he said. "It was the loudest crowd I've ever seen. You couldn't hear anything. It was only the second time I'd ever been to a college game and it was crazy. I really liked that. It was a great environment."

While he's trying to focus on his senior season and his academics, Ellis did mention a few schools at the top of his list.

"I like Florida, Miami, Florida State, everyone," he said. "Tennessee. It's the same ones. I'm still open. Anything can happen. I'm just keeping it open till I can take some visits after the season, maybe during Christmas break."

The talented big man said the Hurricanes have not yet offered a scholarship but he enjoys talking to them each week.

"Coach Cristobal calls a lot," he said. "He's good. He gives it to you real. He's gonna tell you what he likes and what he doesn't like. You listen to him and you know what's going on. I like how he's straight forward with you. I wanna go watch Miami live, probably against Georgia Tech. They're having a good year, especially on defense."

When asked for a single favorite, Ellis had something interesting to say about that.

"To me, none of these schools are not good," he said. "They're all among the best. I gotta go in and fight for playing time and make an impact. It's going to be tough, good competition at all those places. I aint too worried about that. I really dont even know what I'm looking for (in a school). I just wanna get my grades and enjoy my season first."

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