South Carolina guard Bruce Ellington's college football debut went so well in the Gamecocks' 56-37 win against East Carolina on Saturday that his presence on the team is causing opponents to take notice on their scouting reports.
Before the SEC opener against South Carolina, Georgia football coach Mark Richt noted in his news conference today that the Gamecocks want to get the ball into Ellington's hands.
"He's a very multitalented kid," Richt said.
No kidding. After a year away from football spent toward leading South Carolina in scoring in basketball, Ellington accounted for 73 all-purpose yards, lined up in the wildcat formation, and even made two tackles on special teams and had a kick return of more than 50 yards called back due to a penalty. He rushed for 18 yards on two carries, with both runs setting up touchdowns and drawing raves from coach Steve Spurrier for the former high school quarterback who was a finalist for the Mr. Football award in South Carolina.
"We want to get him in there two or three times a game in the wildcat," Spurrier told The Post and Courier. "We need to get him the ball more."
Ellington also has spent time practicing as a receiver, according to ESPN.com SEC writer Edward Aschoff.
Per NCAA rules, he wasn’t allowed to participate in spring football practice, but returned from the summer with his playbook almost memorized, and while he hasn’t played football since high school Spurrier admired the 5-foot-9, 197-pound athlete's quickness and called him "a natural."
According to the Associated Press, Ellington's dual sport goals are fine with basketball coach Darrin Horn, who saw his starting point guard fight through a bruised calf last season when the Gamecocks won 14 games on the court.
"This is not a football-basketball thing," Horn said. "It's a Bruce Ellington thing and we're going to support him."