Ellington ready to play two sports again

Bruce Ellington is happy with the hiring of new basketball coach Frank Martin. Martin, who said he would allow Ellington to play football and basketball, lived up to his word after meeting with Ellington. Ellington is now preparing himself for another tough summer of football and basketball workouts to prepare himself for the 2012 football season and the 2012-13 basketball season.

Bruce Ellington is happy.

With rumors of transfers flying after the dismissal of Darrin Horn and hiring of Frank Martin, Ellington will not be one of them. Following meetings with Martin and a workout with the team, Ellington is happy with his new basketball coach.

"He's a nice guy," Ellington said of Martin. "I'm excited about him being here. I told him I wanted to do both and he told me that it's fine and do whatever I wanted to do. He said he played football and he's a football guy."

Martin was asked during the press conference announcing his hire if he would allow Ellington to play both sports. Martin said he would and he lived up to his word, something Ellington appreciated.

"He's honest with you, straightforward and blunt," Ellington said. "That's everything I want in a coach."

With Ellington currently going through spring practice – his first as a football player – he has been unable to attend all of the workouts Martin and his staff has had with the players, but he was able to attend one and came away quite impressed.

"I went to one of them – I think last Wednesday," Ellington said. "I liked it. They break down everything so you can learn real well. They get after you and if you mess up they tell you to keep going and keep getting better. I really like the assistant coaches and Coach Frank."

While Ellington is firmly committed to returning to the basketball program, the status of Damontre Harris and Anthony Gill still remain up in the air. While Ellington has tried to convince the players to stay, he says the decision is up to them, something he had to battle with himself in the days following Horn's dismissal.

"At one point, but I'm a diehard Gamecock fan so I want to stay here and play," Ellington said.

Ellington still has business to take care of before he joins the basketball team next season; football. Now that Ellington has gotten his first year of college football under his belt, his attention this spring has been to continue learning and improving.

"I just got more comfortable and learning the game and learning the defense," Ellington said. "Last year I was a freshman on the field pretty much so I just got better learning how (defenses) are going to play me."

Ellington saw action in all 13 games, mainly as a kick returner. Ellington returned 20 of the 37 returns for Carolina, averaging 23 yards per kick with a long of 45. It was against Kentucky that Ellington first showed his explosiveness, turning the corner and accelerating past the defense in a 61-yard touchdown run. He saved his greatest moment as a receiver in the biggest game of the year. Against rival Clemson, quarterback Connor Shaw hit Ellington on a post pattern for a 49-yard touchdown, the first touchdown reception of Ellington's career. In total Ellington caught 17 passes for 211 yards. Ellington was pleased with the way the coaching staff slowly brought him along.

"I didn't expect more," Ellington said. "I liked how Coach (Spurrier) put me in there at times when he needed me and I just played along with the offense. I liked that."

With another summer full with football and basketball workouts, Ellington faces a daunting task. After feeling his way through football and basketball workouts last season, Ellington feels like he's better prepared this time around.

"Last year I just wanted to see how it would go playing both, but this year I see that I can do both so I'm going to work out with the football team in the morning and do basketball in the afternoon," Ellington said.


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