Coming off a season where he racked up 110 tackles and 11 sacks, Ellis, who said he could play either defensive tackle or defensive end on the next level, is getting some strong, early recruiting attention.
"It's fun to hear from so many schools this early," Ellis said. "I'm not the kind of guy that's going to keep this going a long time. When I know where I want to go to college, everyone will know. I don't want to string it along. So it's good that I'm able to find out about the schools I like early."
Ellis said that UCLA and USC are his early co-favorites, and that he also likes the Florida schools, particularly Miami, and Oregon.
"UCLA and USC are two football powers and they're right here in California," Ellis said. "I've been getting a lot of attention from them. I'd like to hear more from the Florida schools. I'm hoping to ge more attention from Miami. And Oregon, they're doing a pretty good job. They look kind of strong. I want to take a good look at them."
But he said that UCLA and USC have the edge right now. "I'd like to stay in Southern California and they're right here. If some of the Florida schools started showing more attention, I could consider leaving California, but would like to stay. My parents don't really care what school I go to, but I think they'd like me to stay, too."
Ellis attended both of the recent junior days at UCLA and USC. He said, "Both junior days were fun. I had a good time at both of them. It just made my choice even harder. Both are great schools and have a lot to offer."
Is he leaning either way between UCLA or USC? Did he have a favorite among the two growing up? "I never really had a favorite as a kid," he said. "And I really don't have a favorite between the two right now. I had a cousin that went to UCLA but I don't think she'll really influence my decision."
What Ellis did say would make a big impact on his decision is the success of the program. "I'm the type of guy that hates to lose. I won't stand for it. What's probably the most important to me is how well I think the team will do when I'm there. Where I'll have the strongest team, that's where I'll go." And he said that the recent recruiting success of a program will pertain greatly to his decision. "How well they've recruited in recent years, who they have, who's already there, who they have coming in, that's important. I heard that USC has those guys from Poly, and I heard UCLA has some real good guys coming in, too. I'm looking for strong surrounding players because no matter how good I am, I'm nothing without people around me."
Ellis said how the schools play next season will also have an effect on his decision. "I just want to get a feeling of how they're doing, what direction their season is taking. I'll probably decide toward the beginning of the season. I know you have to look at a program over a period of years, that they go up and down from season to season, but I think it will have a big influence on where I go. I still want to see how well their season is going."
Ellis expects he'll get his decision over "more early than late." He said, "I'm definitely not going to keep them waiting. I'm not going to wait until signing day. I'd like to get it over with early and then get going with the program I choose. I wouldn't mind getting the decision over before my season starts. But if it takes a little longer than that, maybe to take some official visits, then that's what I'll do. I'd say maybe through the middle of my season, but not much later."
He said he has a 3.0 GPA and will take the SAT for the first time in April or May. He was unsure whether he attend the Nike Camp at USC this year, whichis in April, since he said that he was using his available time to work and study, for school and the SAT. He said that attending the Nike Camp at Palo Alto made better sense to him "because he'd have more out of the way bh then." He said, "I know that it all doesn't happen unless I study and get good grades. So that's the number one priority right now."