South Carolina point guard Bruce Ellington is what football recruiters call an "athlete." In other words, he can do a lot of things.
As a basketball player, the 5-foot-9 Ellington started every game as a freshman and led the Gamecocks in scoring, averaging a team-leading 12.8 points. He also led the team in assists, made 3-pointers and minutes played.
This year, Ellington has decided to play football as well and presumably won't be returning to basketball until after the end of the season. He's a 197-pound wide receiver and has the high school credentials that make many believe he can make an impact on the gridiron.
At Berkeley High in Moncks Corner, S.C., he was a finalist for the state's Mr. Football award after piling up 2,878 all-purpose yards and 23 touchdowns as a quarterback while helping the team win a state title. In that game, he rushed for 191 yards and four touchdowns.
Now all he has to do is adjust to the speed of the game, according to The Post and Courier.
Veteran cornerback Stephon Gilmore had jokingly warned Ellington all summer that he was "coming for him" once camp opened. Ellington somehow forgot those tongue-in-cheek threats -- until Gilmore decleated Ellington late in the first practice Wednesday, bumping him at the line of scrimmage.
"He wasn't expecting it," [receivers coach Steve] Spurrier Jr. said. "I thought it was great."
"I'm ready for it to happen," said Ellington, who could ask his cousin, Clemson running back Andre Ellington, for tips on taking and avoiding contact. "When it happens, it happens. I just know I didn't get hit too much in high school."
South Carolina desperately needs him on the court as well, so coach Darrin Horn has to be hoping for as few bumps and bruises as possible to his top player.
The Gamecocks finished last in the SEC East a year ago with a 14-16 record. Horn brought in top-100 recruits in Anthony Gill and Damien Leonard, and there will be at least some pressure on Horn for them to perform.
Until Ellington returns, the Gamecocks will need players to step forward. They can also hope that their preseason top-25 football team plays in a bowl game as soon as possible.