Ellington Ready To Play

Bruce Ellington is the newest member of the South Carolina football team. Ellington will be making the transition from basketball to football this summer in hopes to making some plays on the football field this season. Bruce Ellington spoke for the first time since his decision last week.

A week ago South Carolina point guard Bruce Ellington informed coach Darrin Horn that he was going to be joining the football team this fall. Due to eligibility issues Ellington is not allowed to participate in spring practice but will join Steve Spurrier's team this summer.

"I just decided to play football because I've missed it and I really wanted to come out and try it out," Ellington said following Tuesday's practice in his first interview since he made his decision to play football.

In high school Ellington was a two-sport star but decided to go the basketball route and signed to play for Horn. After a fairly disappointing freshman campaign in which he averaged just under 13 points per game and shot 33% from the field - due in large part to injury - Ellington decided he wanted to try and hit the gridiron.

"It's been on my mind for a while," Ellington said. "I played in high school - all my life - so it's been on my mind for a while. I just wanted to come out and play."

Following a 66-55 loss to Ole Miss in the first round of the SEC Tournament that ended Carolina's season, Ellington was asked if he was going to try playing football this year, in which the freshman responded with a 'no.' Ellington explained that football was just the last thing on his mind less than an hour after the basketball team's final game.

"When y'all asked me that we had just lost so I didn't really want to think about football so I just said no," Ellington said. "But I went home and talked to my mom about playing and she told me to pray on it. I did that and wanted to come out so I told her and she said she said I'm good with your decision."

In high school Ellington was a threat to take it to the house every time he touched the ball. Sporting 4.4 speed, Ellington is looking to play at the slot receiver position, return some kickoffs, and perhaps even running a little 'Wildcat' plays at the quarterback position. With another speedy player that is capable of running the 'Wildcat' formation, Spurrier will have more options on offense without having to pull Stephon Gilmore over from the defensive side of the ball.

Playing football and basketball in college is an extremely difficult task that not many athletes try with the overlap in schedules. Ellington will try to juggle football and basketball workouts over the course of the summer, but Spurrier has told Ellington that he'd work with him to ensure that he puts adequate time to both teams.

"I talked to Coach Spurrier and he said I can do both sports if I want to," Ellington said. "I can go to basketball whenever they need me and I can play football whenever they need me."

Horn had a feeling that the day would come when Ellington would want to play football, though he didn't realize how soon it would come. Ellington insisted that his decision was not influenced at all by anything that may be going on within the basketball team and that Horn was not at all upset about his decision. In fact, Spurrier may all him to do both.

"I'm not worried about it because me and Coach Horn and Coach Spurrier talked about playing basketball during football season if I need to go and work out and stuff like that," Ellington said.

Ellington will be wearing the same #23 that he wore during basketball season - which happens to be the same number that his cousin, Clemson running back Andre Ellington, wears.

"I texted him and told him that I got #23 so (A. Ellington) said you've got no choice but to go out and ball now," Ellington said.

Ellington, who seems to have already built a solid relationship with his new teammates, can't wait to get out on the field when summer practice begins.

"(I miss) Just being out here, the fans, running and juking people, just having fun," Ellington said. "I think I'll have a little bit of rust but once I get out there on the field I think I'll be alright."

But for the next week Ellington will be forced to watch from the sidelines.

"I'm very disappointed," Ellington said. "It's kind of hard to come out here and watch them practice knowing I can't be out there yet."


Gamecock Anthem Top Stories