Recruiting: Uncovering a speed merchant supreme

LONG BEACH POLY, the Southern California high school football factory that rates among the nation's finest year in and year out, is so brimming with talent that Mike Price once offered scholarships to seven of its players on a single day. Indeed, the school is so loaded that a kid like Ellis Anderson, a Poly senior-to-be with some of the fastest wheels this side of the Mississippi, can get lost in the early recruiting shuffle.

This article would normally be a Premium subscription piece, but we're making it free today. Enjoy!

Anderson is not as well known as some of his teammates, but before this football recruiting season is over, his coach believes a number of Pac-10 and other D-IA schools will be lining up for his services.

He brings speed, speed and more speed to the table but was slowed down by the injury bug last year, spending a good chunk of the season hampered by an abdominal strain after transferring from Palisades to Poly.

"My last game was real hard because I could only run straight," he laughed. "I couldn't turn, so I just ran straight."

He was also getting acclimated to the Poly program, learning a new offense and defense. Still, his coach says he is something to behold.

"You ought to see him run," said Long Beach coach Raul Lara.

Look fast or you might miss him. The 5-9.5, 180-pound Ellis recently competed in the Penn Relays in the 4x400 --- his split was a blistering 47.29. The LB Poly quartet took second place in a photo finish, the first American team across the line after the Jamaicans. Poly's time of 3:12.35 was the second fastest prep time run in California this year.

SCHOOLS ARE MOSTLY recruiting Ellis at running back but its early and with his speed, there are any number of positions and roles he can play at the next level.

"I just want to get a good education," said the affable Ellis. "A good sports program all-around would be good too, of course. Two well balanced programs in football and track, because those are my two sports."

Ellis is also being recruited by a handful of schools for track, but more so for football. He is considering a major in Communication. Oregon and Colorado are recruiting the hardest right now, with schools like Fresno State and Oklahoma also filling his mailbox. With family in Oklahoma, Ellis is a big fan of schools like OU, and also of Cal, but pointed out that he's wide open, keeping an eye out for Washington State the rest of the Pac-10 to see what might come to pass over the recruiting year.

"I like all the coaching staffs I've talked to," he said.

Ellis, who's been to USC a few times, took in the sights and sounds of Oregon's junior day, coming away more than a little impressed with the Ducks' facilities. More important than that to his final decision, though, will be the coaching staff.

"In a position coach, I'd like a person who is straight up -- someone who will get the best out of me," Ellis said.

He may run track this summer, but hopes to also be able to fit in a few summer camps and let schools see his football speed.

WITH A VIRTUAL embarrassment of riches this year, Poly could be challenged to get all of their playmakers enough touches as much of the talent from the 2004 championship season -- Poly's fifth in the last eight years -- returns in 2005.

But with Ellis, you get the feeling Lara and his staff will take pains to get the ball in his hands both early, and often.

"You talk about a fast kid at running back," said Lara. "This kid can fly."

Ellis Anderson profile

Cougfan Top Stories