The accident prevented Ellerbe, an athlete from Wadesboro (N.C.) Anson, from beginning the workout regimen that UNC sends to all of its signees and delayed the start of his baseball season. He hopes to join Anson's baseball team for the last few games this week as a reserve outfielder.
The accident also led to significant weight loss for Ellerbe, who played his senior football season at 212 pounds. His goal is to be at 215 pounds when he reports to UNC for the second summer semester on June 15.
To ensure that he enrolls in the second summer semester like most of UNC's 2011 incoming class, Ellerbe, who plans on majoring in accounting, must finish out his academic year strong.
"[My test score and core GPA] just about match up [on the NCAA Clearinghouse sliding scale]," Ellerbe said. "I have a little bit of work to do, but I should be good."
Ellerbe's communication with UNC has remained steady. He speaks to a UNC representative, typically Everett Withers, once a week. Withers also made a visit to Anson High School last Thursday.
"[Withers] always checks up on me [and] makes sure everything is alright," Ellerbe said. "They just want me to finish up all my schoolwork and I get what I need. They tell me to be prepared, because they're going to really need me when I come in as a freshman."
Based on his conversations with the UNC coaches, Ellerbe expects to immediately compete for playing time at safety.
"Right now, they have Jonathan Smith at strong, so I'll probably be at free," Ellerbe said. "They just moved Gene [Robinson] down to corner."
Although he has played safety during his prep career, Ellerbe was primarily an offensive player during his senior season.
"It won't be a problem [playing safety], because that's what I prefer to play," Ellerbe said. "I figured I'll fit in just fine."
During his official visit, Ellerbe was told he could wear his high school jersey number, No. 9, at UNC.
"[No. 9] was what I asked for," Ellerbe said.
Although he isn't completely sure who he'll be rooming with, Ellerbe has had conversations with Eric Ebron and Norkeithus Otis about being roommates.