Practice Tour: Brandon Ellerbe

WADESBORO, N.C. --- In spite of his verbal commitment to North Carolina, Brandon Ellerbe plans to take all five of his official visits.

"He's still going to take his [official] visits and make sure he gets his mom and dad both involved in the situation, because they need to see the places [and] wherever he decides to go," Anson County head football coach Luke Hyatt said.

Although the 5-foot-11, 200-pound athlete has visited several schools, Ellerbe's parents haven't made any recruiting trips.

Ellerbe is only considering officially visiting schools that have offered him a scholarship. Besides UNC and Clemson - the school he originally verbally committed to - he has received offers from Texas Tech, Virginia, and West Virginia.

"He and I are going to sit down and we're going to map out our schedule compared to [college's] schedules," Hyatt said. "We want to get him where he can enjoy himself on his visit. You'd hate it to be a scenario where he has to fly out of here 11 o'clock on a Friday night."

Ellerbe has already scheduled an official visit with Texas Tech for the weekend of Sept. 18 when the Red Raiders host Texas.

"I want to go to a school where I'm comfortable with the environment - I'm comfortable with teaching staff, coaching staff, [and] everybody that's going to help me get my education," Ellerbe said. "I also need my mom to be comfortable. If she's happy, I'm happy."

Ellerbe is being recruited as both a running back and safety. In particular, UNC's coaches have told him that he'll compete for the free safety spot vacated by Deunta Williams following this season.

"I think he can step right in and play strong or free," Hyatt said. "He has the big enough frame where he can roll up into the box and help in run support. But yet, he's athletic enough to get in pass coverage all over the field whether it is two-deep, three-deep, [and] man coverage - whatever it is.

"From an athletic standpoint, he could probably walk in and compete for playing time at wide receiver, [and] probably compete for playing time at running back. He's mobile enough and agile enough and has enough ability to do so much."

After playing the majority of last season at running back, Ellerbe has moved back to strong safety for this coming season.

"It feels good to be back at home," Ellerbe said.

Ellerbe began last season at safety, but was exclusively moved to running back after Anson County started the year with a 1-2 record. The Bearcats, which employ a run-heavy offense, rebounded and ended the season with a 10-5 record and a game shy of the 3A State Championship.

Ellerbe will likely still see significant reps on offense and could even start a few games both ways.

"We'd like to have a starting offense without Brandon Ellerbe," Hyatt said. "After the first game, we'll reevaluate where we're at."

The plan heading into the season is for Ellerbe to touch the ball on offense 15-20 times a game.

"In the end, I'm just here to help out the team," Ellerbe said. "I just want to win."

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