(Re)Making His Name

After missing his junior season because of injury, Williamstown (N.J.) defensive back Mark Ellis knows he has a lot to prove this year. Ellis got a head start recently, competing in a 7-on-7 tournament in Youngstown (OH) and visiting West Virginia University.

Ellis, 5-foot-11, 180 pound defensive back missed his entire junior season due to an ACL injury. With his knee healed, Ellis is hitting the ground running trying to gain traction on the recruiting front.

"I have to prove that I haven't played much, but I'm worthy," Ellis said about his motivation for this summer and upcoming senior season. "I have to prove that I can do what I say I can. I have a lot of doubters. I'm not where I need to be. I'm still playing catch up at this point."

Soon after competing in a 7-on-7 tournament in Youngstown (OH), Ellis made a detour to West Virginia on his way home to check out the Mountaineers, a school he's never visited before.

"I liked what I saw," Ellis said. "I didn't get to see a lot of the campus but what I did see was nice area. We got to go to the field. I loved the field. The facilities and practice facility was real nice."

Ellis arrived just before the Mountaineers hit the field for a spring practice, so he didn't have the opportunity to watch. He did, however, get to speak with his recruiting coach, Mountaineer cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell.

"He's a nice guy," he said. "He knows what he's talking about and knows what he's doing. He told me he wants me to come back down to a one-day camp and see how I run."

Given the Mountaineers' struggles in pass defense this past season, it shouldn't come as a surprise they're looking hard at defensive backs. Ellis believes he's the type of player that could definitely help in the secondary.

"I've been preached technique since I was little," Ellis said. "Plus my physicality off the line -- like when a receiver tries to come off the line. I've gotten faster. My speed is back after my injury. So I'm used to using technique. But now I have technique and speed to keep up with receivers."

Because he's behind on the recruiting circuit, Ellis isn't rushing a commitment. In addition to WVU, he's receiving interest from Rutgers, Temple, Pitt and Massachusetts with a couple of those standing out the most.

"I'm just playing it as it goes." Ellis said. "I don't really have a timeline. Right now my Top three is Rutgers, Temple, and West Virginia."

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