2011 Intro: Brandon Ellerbe

WADESBORO, N.C. --- When Anson County started the 2009 season with a 1-2 record, head coach Luke Hyatt realized he needed to make changes to his football team. He decided to move Brandon Ellerbe, predominately a safety, to tailback.

"We just couldn't find that go-to guy at tailback," Hyatt said. "… [The move] made just a big difference for our season. We made it to the fourth round of the playoffs and I can honestly say I don't think we would have been there without Brandon at tailback. He just gave us that extra dimension we were looking for."

Anson ended the season with a 10-5 record and a game shy of the 3A State Championship. Anson employs a run-heavy offense; thus Ellerbe was a big piece to its offensive puzzle and a major reason for the team's turnaround.

"What you see on film is what you get," Hyatt said. "We're going to line up and say ‘here we come' and we're going to hand it to Brandon Ellerbe or run the option with our quarterback."

In 12 games, Ellerbe, a 6-foot, 195-pounder, rushed for 1,437 yards and 15 touchdowns on 206 carries (7-yard average).

"I just try to be the best teammate," Ellerbe said. "Wherever the coaches tell me to go, I try my best to perform at that position, try to help the team win."

As a sophomore, Ellerbe recorded four interceptions – including returning one 100 yards for a touchdown. However, his role on defense diminished as his value on offense amplified.

"We needed him primarily on [the offensive] side," Hyatt said. "… We found a couple of other kids that filled in for Brandon at safety. But there were times when we went to a prevent [defense] or on a big third down situation, Brandon would get out on the field."

Right before making the move to tailback, Clemson offered Ellerbe a scholarship. A couple of days later, he verbally committed to the Tigers.

"When I committed, I committed [because] I knew that was my dream school, but then again I committed just so I have a place to go – just in case I don't have anything else," Ellerbe said.

In early February, North Carolina became the second school to offer Ellerbe. The offer slightly changed his commitment status.

"Right now it's just a soft commitment," Ellerbe said. "I'm not there, exactly. I'm just trying to see what else can come in. I [committed] because I had nowhere else to go."

In addition to his commitment, Ellerbe maintains a top three favorite schools list.

"Right now my top three is Clemson, Miami, and [North] Carolina," Ellerbe said. "But I'm looking towards [an offer from] Virginia Tech. If I get Virginia Tech, I'm going to delete Carolina [from my top three] and add Virginia Tech.

"Since I was little, I just liked [Clemson, Miami, and Virginia Tech] – my heart was with them ever since I was little. Carolina is in there because they've offered."

Besides Virginia Tech, Ellerbe says Duke, Illinois, and Kansas State appear to be close to offering.

Most schools are recruiting Ellerbe as an athlete and giving him the option to choose the position he wants to play. UNC, though, is recruiting him as a running back, according to Ellerbe.

"I prefer to play safety," Ellerbe said. "I like going up and getting the ball, and making hits."

Over the weekend, Ellerbe made his first recruiting visit since the football season ended – NC State's Junior Day. He's scheduled to attend UNC's Spring Game in April and hopes to set up visits to Miami and Virginia Tech.

During the 2009 football season, he attended a couple of games at Clemson and was at the UNC-Florida State game in Chapel Hill.

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