After spending most of his senior season at East Wake High School in Wendell, NC thinking he would be a part of the Wolfpack football team in 2007, cornerback Dominique Ellis had to take a step back after learning just before fall practice that he would be academically ineligible this season.
Because several of his courses didn't transfer over from Georgia, Ellis ultimately came up 10 points short on the SAT. The A's and B's he thought would count, didn't and as a result, Ellis has spent the last couple of months preparing for another shot at achieving a qualifying test score.
"I've been working with a company that helps you get ready for the SAT and they just gave me a practice test and I did great on it so I know I won't have any problems qualifying," said Ellis. "I've just got to get my score up 10 points and I'll be taking the test on Nov 6."
Ellis said that NC State has stuck with him all along the way and their loyalty was a key factor in him keeping his commitment to the Wolfpack.
"Florida State actually contacted me," said Ellis. "But the thing that kept me with State is that they stuck with me. They appealed to the NCAA about my courses transferring and were in my corner all along. They know I'm an exceptional student but I guess going to four high schools in four years made it difficult (with the courses transferring) but they were behind me all the way."
Ellis has been working out with a private trainer to stay in shape and says he's now at 5-11, 192 pounds. He's also had time to watch NC State struggle through a disappointing season so far but he feels strongly that the Pack hired the right man for the job.
"Under coach O'Brien, it's going to go nowhere but up," he said. "He's implementing a new system with a new staff and it's just going to take some time. You have players that were recruited to play in another system and for some guys, it's hard to adapt. But I think coach O'Brien was prepared for this. I mean, he was one of only three coaches that went to seven straight bowl games so he's obviously the right man for the job."
Ellis plans to enroll at NC State in January. As a senior in high school, he recorded 75 tackles, five interceptions and scored four special team's touchdowns en route to all-state honors. He was named the defensive MVP of last year's Shrine Bowl after notching five tackles against the South carolina squad.
SCOUTING REPORT #1: "Dominique Ellis is a player that has been somewhat overlooked, perhaps partly due to the fact he transferred to East Wake High School from Georgia this year. Ellis has a perfect frame for cornerback and a tremendous attitude. His straight-line speed may be a concern but his lateral movement, quickness and change of direction are superb. He showed solid cover skills during the combine circuit this spring and more than held his own against some of the nation's best." -- Pack Pride Recruiting Analyst Steve Williams
SCOUTING REPORT #2: "Dominique Ellis is an undersized but active strong safety who is excellent in press coverage and makes up ground well against the number two receiver on his side. Will require help against a bigger tight end, but plays well in the air to overcome a few inches in height. Able to play in the box and has a cornerback attitude that just keeps coming back after any bad plays." -- Scout.com Recruiting Analyst Miller Safrit
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