UT Battles Adversaries For Ellerbe

To fully appreciate what Dannell Ellberbe means to Tennessee's recruiting season just look at last season's record under L.

The two most disappointing defeats of 2003 came against Clemson and Georgia, and they're also Tennessee's chief rivals for Dannell Ellerbe, a 6-foot-1, 190-pounder from Richmond High School in Rockingham, N.C., who projects as a bone-rattling linebacker with 4.6 speed and text book tackling technique. He's also highly adept at taking the right angles and, as a result, plays much faster than he times.

Ellerbe helped lead Richmond to an 11-1 mark as a senior and his stock skyrocketed after winning Defensive MVP honors in the Shrine Bowl, intercepting a pass and recording nine tackles with two sacks. He also broke up a two-point conversion pass and was conspicious by his ever-present play.

Teammate Jamar Bryant, a 6-2, 185, wide receiver, has already committed to Georgia but is scheduled to visit Tennessee next weekend. Ellerbe plans to visit North Carolina State next week and doesn't list a leader.

"All of these schools have good programs and are all good teams," he said of his favorites. "If I go to one of these schools I will have a chance to play in a bowl game and play for a possible ring. All of the schools also have good academics and have my major, education."

Ellerbe is being recruited as an outside linebacker by his four finalists, but in Tennessee's system the strong safety plays much like a linebacker, which might make this classic ‘tweener' an ideal fit. Ellerbe is rated No. 47 nationally among linebackers and appears to have that football mentality fans complain is in too short supply at Tennessee.

For sure, Ellerbe is the type of player you'd rather have playing for your team than playing against it.

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