Fall Camp: Rhett Ellison Wearing Many Hats

Tight end Rhett Ellison is making waves at fullback, Chris Galippo donned the no-contact jersey and Jeremy Galten started at right tackle in place of an injured Matt Kalil for the Trojans' Wednesday practice.

LOS ANGELES – Rhett Ellison showed he can wear any hat you give him, evident in his skilled blocking when playing on special teams Thursday.

"Rhett Ellison has had an unbelievable camp. Special teams, fullback, tight end, receiver, everything. I couldn't be more pleased with him and probably the best story of camp so far, of what he's done and where he's at from a year ago," Kiffin said.

This fall camp, Ellison (6-5, 250) has been making the transition to fullback because of the lack of depth at the position. While he also takes repetitions at tight end, it's likely he will get some playing time this season coming out of the backfield.

"It was difficult. It still is difficult trying to learn full back. You get to see so much more of the field, so much more of the defensive you have to understand so much more of what's going on. [Coach] Pola is really helping me out, he's making it easier and easier every day."

Ellison's size is unique for the fullback position, so Pola has been helping Ellison by teaching him the shock technique, where the redshirt senior practices getting low on his opponent by hitting them underneath their chin.

Despite reports that Ellison needed stitches last week, he said he only hyperextended the finger, nothing more.

"My mom text me yesterday and was like ‘you got stitches and didn't tell me?' I was like ‘you just told me I got stitches," the Portola Valley native joked.

While he is still learning the fullback position, Ellison's repetitions at tight end have proven valuable to the class of young receivers who have been soaking up Ellison's advice like a sponge.

"His value to our team, his leadership, he's just awesome is the only way to put it," Kiffin said.

"Whenever I can help them out, I try to help them out," Ellison said.

105 Maximum

Kiffin said three players in Jesse Scroggins, Markeith Ambles and Giovanni di Paolo were replaced by walk-ons because the Fall Camp roster can have a maximum of 105 players.

"When guys get injured sometimes they get replaced in the 105," Kiffin said. "School starts Monday so you can expand from 105 so [Scroggins] is just missing a couple days.

Although the limitation is only for the duration of camp, Scroggins is losing valuable time learning from quarterbacks Coach Helton and being around the team. With that said, more repetitions go to early enrollees Max Wittek and Cody Kessler, the latter who is feeling more confident than ever after altering his throwing motion in the offseason.

"I kind of fixed my whole throwing motion over summer. I used to kind of have a little hitch and go back here now I stay close to my ear. I had that over spring, because I was trying to be too perfect on some of my throws. Over that like month or two break we had off before fall camp I worked on that."

Quick Hits

--Safety Marshall Jones was out today with a bone bruise near his right knee. T.J. McDonald, Matt Kalil, and D.J. Morgan were among those who also missed Wednesday's practice.

--Chris Galippo was donning the no-contact jersey that Kyle Prater wore Wednesday. The middle linebacker still took part in drills but only ran through them and moved out of the way instead of tackling.

--Scouts from the Cleveland Browns, San Diego Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers were present at practice today.

--Nickell Robey and Marqise Lee seem to be the most consistent punt returners of camp. Lee especially stood out. The Serra product somehow finds space to run despite a slew of defenders rushing at him.

--Receiver Robert Woods opened up about his injury: "Coming into camp I felt 100 percent and then one just night, it wasn't so good….I didn't sprain it or twist it or anything, I just woke up and it was bad."

Woods doesn't know when he will be back, but hopes he will be soon.

"Especially sitting over there on the side watching all the receivers get their reps in and more work, it's kind of depressing."

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