Crunch Time: Ellis Days Away From Committing

The Cowboys landed their first three-star prospect of the 2008 recruiting class last week and are looking to add another highly-touted California senior by the end of the month. They'll have to beat out Fresno State to do it, however, and A.J. Ellis could see even more offers come his way before making a final decision…

He won't wait long.

But for the time being, A.J. Ellis is keeping his options open.

The three-star California prospect holds scholarship offers from Wyoming and Fresno State—two schools he has visited in recent weeks—and he wants to make his college decision final before 2008.

That gives the Cowboys less than two weeks to find a way to turn the recruiting tide in their favor.

"I'm probably leaning toward Fresno," Ellis told yesterday, "but I haven't committed.

"They've had a better history as far as going to bowl games and playing on nationally televised (games) and stuff like that."

The 5-foot-11, 171-pound senior is currently ranked No. 82 among the nation's high school cornerbacks, but both the Cowboys and the Bulldogs see Ellis as an offensive star.

Wyoming will lose its top two tailbacks, Wynel Seldon and Devin Moore, after the 2008 season, and coaches are recruiting Ellis as a possible replacement in the backfield. Were he to commit, he would be only the second three-star prospect of the Pokes' '08 recruiting class. They landed another California standout in Moorpark gunslinger Adam Barry last week.

"They want me to redshirt that first year, and they think I'd be able to play that next year," said Ellis, who stayed with Moore during his visit to Laramie two weeks ago.

"He was a real cool guy," Ellis said of the Pokes' 2007 leading rusher. "He was very put together. He's got his own place, and he's staying with his girl. So, he's doing the right things."

Wyoming has just one scholarship to give at running back this year, but head coach Joe Glenn promised Ellis an offer to play cornerback if another player fills the backfield spot first.

Fresno State is recruiting Ellis at what coaches refer to as the "slash" position—a mixture of wideout, slot receiver, tailback and anything else that would put the ball in the young man's hands. Bulldog senior Clifton Smith took on the role in 2007 and racked up 768 yards and three scores.

"They put him all over the field," Ellis said of Smith. "For my body frame and everything like that, I think that would probably be a better situation for me (than playing running back)."

Ellis, who rolled up 1,792 yards of total offense and 25 touchdowns for Hill High School (San Jose, Calif.) this season, said Fresno coaches think he will be able to compete for the job as a true freshman.

"It's an honor (to be recruited as Smith's replacement)," he told ( Fresno State site) last week.

But while his enthusiasm for the Bulldogs has pushed UW to No. 2 on his list, Ellis said his trip to the Cowboy State--where he saw snow for the first time--was actually more fun than the one to Fresno last weekend.

"Fresno was probably a little more structured, like we would go from one meeting to the next meeting to another meeting," he said. "Wyoming, I had to go early. I had to leave on a Thursday, so I was by myself, so it wasn't like from one to another to another.

"I flew out with Coach Glenn, and our plane ended up being delayed like two hours, so we were stuck at the airport for about four hours. But that was cool, though, just hanging with the head coach. "He's a real cool guy, like someone you can joke around with and stuff."

Ellis finished the '07 season with 43 tackles and two interceptions defensively, and his senior numbers have garnered heavy interest from other schools of late.

Washington State and Oregon State have both reportedly been in contact with Ellis' high school coaches, and he said another offer could make things even more complicated.

Either way, he said he will try to commit by the end of the month.

"I'm still thinking and stuff," he said. "I really don't know."

Click here to view a video of Ellis' senior-season highlights.

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