Ellis picks UM for his future in baseball

Chris Ellis didn't need much convincing Ole Miss was the place for him. He wanted to play in the best baseball conference in the country and at a place that cares about the sport.

Ellis, a 6-foot-1, 180-pounder who can play first or third base or one of the corner outfield spots, took a look and was sold.

"I really liked Ole Miss as a whole," said the Macon, Ga., native, who normally plays third base. "The athletic facilities are great. There are a lot of good things about Ole Miss."

He talked to his home-state school, Georgia, among others. Playing for the Bulldogs was basically a natural.

"Everybody around me likes Georgia," he said.

But Ellis actually already had Ole Miss on his mind. He had attended baseball camps at Ole Miss.

"I'd been there for some camps," he said. "So I was familiar with Ole Miss and liked it a lot."

The Stratford Academy high school senior was selected as a preseason Under Armour All-American. Ellis batted .400 with five home runs as a junior last season. He was named All-Region in 2007 and All-Region and All-State in 2008. His Stratford team won the GISA Class AAA state title in 2007 and was a semi-finalist in 2008.

Now that he has chosen Ole Miss, Ellis, who also runs track in high school, wants to focus on his senior school year and continue to improve.

"I want to work on my strength and conditioning and also my defense," he said. "I know I have a lot of room for improvement, and I'm looking forward to getting better all around as a player."

And in the meantime taking a few moments next month to sign on and sign up for the Rebels.

"It's exciting," Ellis said. "I'm looking forward to it."

The Rebels open the 2009 season at the South Alabama Tournament in Mobile Feb. 20-22. Other teams participating are Liberty and Mercer in addition to Ole Miss and host South Alabama.

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