"I just kept asking myself what I was waiting for," Ellis said. "There was no reason to wait because I have the program I want right there with the best facilities you can get. I'm right up the street from the school, and it's a no-brainer for me.
"Out of all the schools that I had visited, no school fit my style of play better than State. I haven't met a better group of coaches than State's, and you can't beat the facilities there. To top it off, they are right near my home, so that's great."
Ellis burst on the scene this spring at the Durham Scout.com combine, where he routinely locked up wide receivers and impressed onlookers with his aggressive style. Scout.com's Doug Cox stated Ellis was the top defensive back in attendance after working with him that day, and Ellis followed up that performance by being named to the first-team All-Combine team at Scout.com's Atlanta combine.
|"I play with a little swagger... I see that when I watch State."|
"I liked all of them, but none of them fit me as a player like State," he said. "State just had everything I wanted, and I play with a little swagger... I see that when I watch State.
"It was actually an easy decision. Out of everything I could gain from it, I could't figure out one bad thing about State that could keep me from coming there.
"I just fit great in State's system and they fit me great. It was that simple."
Ellis stated that he had a feeling that he would end up at NC State so he and his father took the short drive over to the Wolfpack's campus to inform the coaches of his decision. How does his father and family feel about his decision?
"He's going to support me fully and he's always supported me 100%," Ellis said. "He'll be right down the road and can come to all of my games. I know that my dad, my mom, and my brothers and sisters are all happy for me and will support me."
|"I just fit great in State's system and they fit me great. It was that simple."|
A major factor playing in NC State's favor was the Wolfpack's success in recent years of sending defensive backs to the NFL.
During Chuck Amato's tenure, all the cornerbacks and safeties that have started as a senior for NC State, every single one minus just one, is now in the NFL. The only one not currently in an NFL camp is Troy Graham, and even undrafted free agents such as Dovonte Edwards and Lamont Reid were talented enough to earn spots and playing time as rookies. Arizona Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson left early as a junior, and he is considered one of the league's top safeties.
This success and the coaching of defensive backs coach Greg Williams, who worked with these players and coached Denver Bronco star Champ Bailey at Georgia, appealed to Ellis.
"Tons of their players over the past few years have went to NFL, and they have one of the best defensive backs coaches in the nation," said Ellis. "He coached one of the best defensive backs in the league right now in Champ Bailey, and that also made it a no-brainer. Everything Champ learned going into the league made him better, and he got it from coach Williams. It isn't hard to see that."
During his junior season, Ellis played football for Atlanta (Ga.) North Springs, a 1-9 team. While his high school only eked out one victory, Ellis lit up opponents for 87 tackles and 13 interceptions. He also returned a punt and a kick for touchdowns.
Ellis transferred to East Wake to play with and against better talent and also to reunite with players with which he played little league football. For the Warriors, Ellis will play a mixture of free safety and cornerback, and also possibly see time at wide receiver, returner, and punter.
|"I feel like I can come in here and show what all I can do."|
"[East Wake head coach Jimmy] Williams is going to use me as an athlete," said Ellis. "I'm going to be on the field all of the time trying to make plays.
"[East Wake] is a school with a lot of tradition that has won some titles. I feel like I can come in here and show what all I can do.
"I'm ecstatic about that. It's just something different. When I was younger, I was used to winning. It was kind of frustrating for me last year. Now that I'm moving to a better school, and they produce wins. With that and the camp circuit, I can really showcase my talent."
With his decision out of the way, Ellis will focus on his academics and senior season, as he is firmly committed to NC State.
"I will be at the Wolfpack's camp on the 17th and that's it," he said. "If it doesn't have anything to do with the Wolfpack, I won't be doing it."