Cedrick's Little Brother a Big-time Prospect

Last season Tennessee discovered how strong sibling bonds can bind when it came to signing top flight prospects like Will Roach and Greg Olsen who went with Alabama and Notre Dame, respectively, where older brothers are currently playing.

This fall the Vols will be trying to make a family connection of their own in the pursuit of Memphis Melrose safety Ellix Wilson, the brother of former Tennessee standout Cedrick Wilson who is currently a wide receiver with the San Francisco 49ers.

Ellix shares his older brother's poise under pressure, competitive nature and sharp instincts, but he's bigger, stronger and faster. Checking in at 6-0, 205, Ellix Wilson has 4.45 speed and brings a load in a hurry from his strong safety post. He can also transform himself into cover corner capable of matching up with physical receivers. Or he can become a fourth linebacker where he can put heat on the quarterback and stuff the run.

"Ellix has started since he was a freshman," said coach Ingram. "He really only plays defense, he plays strong safety and corner also. He could probably play either position at the next level. He's such an aggressive player and a big-time hitter, strong safety is where he might be more valuable."

Ellix is credited by his head coach with knowing how every aspect the defense works and conveying the schemes to his teammates on the field.

"He's a very aggressive player, very sharp, very intelligent," said Ingram. "He's a player that probably understands the game better than anyone I know at his level.

"He's able to be a coach on the field, to remember the things the coaches say and be able to translate it. He was our best leader as a junior. He's been showing those qualities ever since his freshman year."

Ingram says Ellix Wilson has his brother's work ethic and versatility. Vol fans probably recalled that Cedrick played quarterback in high school, but switched to wide receiver as a true freshman and worked his way into UT's rotation that year playing with Peyton Manning during his senior year of 1997. He became a starter in 1998 and played on UT's national title team. He then led Tennessee in receiving as a junior and senior.

"Ellix is a model player, works hard in the weight room, works hard in the offseason," said Ingram. "He runs track and he's a 10.6 100-meter dash guy."

Ellix intercepted six passes as a freshman and three in each his sophomore and junior seasons as opponents took great pains to avoid him. He helped lead Melrose to a 12-1 record and the state semifinals last season. Naturally, he's attracting a lot of early attention from schools including several in the SEC.

"You've got seven teams that have already offered him," said Ingram. "You got Arkansas, Ole Miss, Tennessee that said they are going to offer him."

It's not a given that Ellix will decide to follow in his brother's footsteps and become a Volunteer, but Ingram said he knows all about the Tennessee football experience and is fully aware that his brother enjoyed his four years on The Hill.

"He's very familiar with Tennessee," Ingram said. "He's familiar with the program, he's familiar with the coaches. He's been up there so often and knows so much about it. He knows about Neyland Stadium and the traditions because he experienced so much of that when his brother was there."

Ingram has been in charge of the Melrose program for one year and is still surprised by the level of talent the program attracts.

"It's amazing that we get so many good players," said Ingram. "We haven't decided just which camps we're going to attend as a team. We've got between six to nine players who could sign Division I scholarships next year."

Inside Tennessee will profile some of the other top Melrose athletes that the Vols are known to have an interest in today and Monday.

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