Practice Report: Ellington getting better

South Carolina wide receiver Bruce Ellington gets better each time out on the field. The sophomore receiver has only played the position for two years but is starting to showcase his playmaking abilities in recent weeks as he emerges as a viable threat for the Gamecocks offense.

Bruce Ellington is turning the corner with the Gamecocks in the last few weeks and there's a pretty easy explanation why.

"He's just learning," Coach Steve Spurrier Jr. said after practice on Wednesday. "You learn defenses. You learn proper depths. You learn timing of plays. You learn how to get open. It's take awhile to learn all that stuff."

Ellington has been off the high school football fields since 2009, but didn't play football at South Carolina till the 2011 season. He made a solid impact across the board with the Gamecocks in 2011 with 780 total yards of offense but was still learning and figuring out how to play football at this level.

Fast forward to the 2012 season and, as more time has gone on, Ellington has shown why he was such a dominating player on the football fields in high school. The last two games, Ellington has gone over 100 yards receiving and has emerged as the go-to receiver for the Gamecocks. Coach Spurrier Jr. said Wednesday that they both talked about how new the wide receiver position is to him but he continues to get better each time out.

"It's funny he was talking about that too, you know, he's only played receiver for two years of his life. He never played a lot of receiver. It's kind of a different game out there and he gets better every time he plays."

Spurrier Jr. knows that Ellington is learning but he's such a valuable player with the ball in his hands. Ellington is currently second to Marcus Lattimore in all-purpose yards with 774 yards this season. Ellington could surpass Lattimore's total of 835 yards with another solid performance this weekend against Wofford.

"Bruce has learned a little bit and become a better player," said Spurrier Jr. "He's good to have on the field. Good to have the ball in his hands and good that he's getting these opportunities."

All of these opportunities that Ellington has received in recent weeks have nothing to do with the "light bulb" coming on in the sophomore receiver from Moncks Corner, S.C.

"You get more comfortable. It all kind of happens and he's still got a lot to learn. He's still got a lot ahead of him that he can become his receiver, so, it's kind of fun watching him play though."

Ellington agreed with his position coach on Wednesday night.

"I'm just getting the ball," Ellington said. "I'm just running the route and the ball is coming to me."

The playmaker role is something Ellington wants on this team and he's definitely showcasing that for the Gamecocks now. On Saturday against Arkansas, Connor Shaw found a wide open Bruce Ellington on fourth and 5 from the Arkansas 42-yard line. Ellington made the catch and, subsequently, made a defender miss and raced into the end zone for a Gamecock touchdown giving them a 21-10 lead with 1:30 left in the first half. It was a big play for South Carolina and another one that showcased why Ellington is such a valuable member of the team.

The more opportunities Ellington receives, the better his confidence gets to make plays.

"It just builds my confidence to go out there and catch the ball and make plays. I want to be a playmaker on this team and so that just makes it more exciting to me."

Ellington has a chance to have another big game this weekend against Wofford but will focus on this weekend's game like they are playing another SEC team.

"It's very hard," Ellington said on Wednesday. "I ran that offense in high school so I know how you can make big plays. You don't know who got the ball. We just got to go in and play Wofford like we're playing another SEC team and just play hard and try to come out with the win."

Whether it's Wofford, Clemson or anyone else, Ellington knows that no team should be overlooked.

"We can't take no team lightly."

Post-Practice Notes

-Ellington said after practice that he offered up his talents to run scout team quarterback to help the Gamecocks prepare for the Wofford game.

-Coach Spurrier Jr. said that DeAngelo Smith actually suffered a concussion last week, along with a laceration near his eye, that limited his vision for a few days and has kept him out of practice the last few days.

-Spurrier Jr. said Nick Jones is a player that does everything right. Spurrier Jr. said "He's a reliable receiver. He's done a good job."

-Freshman receiver Shaq Roland is still progressing and continuing to get better but they still expect him to become a much better receiver down the road. "Shaq's getting a little better. He's got a long way to go before he's the player we think he can be. But he's getting better. He's a guy we're going to give opportunities to."

-Jadeveon Clowney was held out of practice again on Wednesday. Clowney has been nursing a sore foot.

-Connor Shaw practiced on Wednesday and was fine according to Coach G.A. Mangus. He should be ready to go for Saturday's game.

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