Steelers 2014 NFL Draft Player Profiles – South Carolina WR Bruce Ellington
Good friend Dave-Te’ Thomas of Scouting Services has finished his player profiles of several of the top 2014 NFL Draft prospects and over the course of the next few weeks I will be posting the ones that the Pittsburgh Steelers will more than likely have interest in. Being as South Carolina wide receiver Bruce Ellington was in for a pre draft visit recently, now is a good time to post his. Thomas has done these profiles for the NFL for several years and I know that many of you enjoy reading them.
Wide Receiver/Return Specialist
University of South Carolina Gamecocks
Moncks Corner, North Carolina
Berkeley High School
The two-sport standout who also plays point guard on the men’s basketball team is coming off breakout seasons on the gridiron where he led the team in receptions and yards gained receiving in each of his final two campaigns. He also paced the Gamecocks in touchdown grabs during the 2013 schedule. Previously, he served as the team’s primary kickoff returner during his first two seasons at the university.
The three-year letter-winner for the Gamecocks basketball team, he left the hardwood court this winter to concentrate on all-star games, the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine and the school’s scheduled Pro Day leading up to the NFL Draft in early May. He closed out his hoops career with averages of 11.2 points, 2.73 rebounds and 2.98 assists while shooting .336 from the field and .668 from the foul line.
Standing 5:09.3, Ellington is quite aware that his professional future is much brighter on the gridiron than the parquet floor. Playing for a school that has never been recognized for their aerial attack, preferring ball control and a powerful running game as their weapons of choice, Ellington’s emergence gave South Carolina a viable threat to stretch the field.
With twenty-six games of starting experience as a slot receiver, Ellington finished his career 13th in school history with 106 receptions and eighth with sixteen touchdown catches, as he generated 1,586 yards. He also amassed 2,727 all-purpose yards, averaging 22.72 yards on 43 kickoff returns and 5.92 yards on 25 rushing attempts.
The Berkeley High School product led the Stags to the Division II-AAAA state champion-ship in 2009 as a quarterback, as the team compiled a 14-1 record. He carried 23 times for 191 yards and four touchdowns in the state title game win and for his final season, he totaled 2,878 all-purpose yards, including 1,541 yards and 23 touchdowns on 148 carries. He also threw for 501 yards and six scores.
In 2009, Ellington was a finalist for South Carolina’s “Mr. Football” honors. The previous season, he logged 1,711 all-purpose yards, as he averaged ten yards per carry and 21 yards per reception. He also returned three kicks for touchdowns. In basketball, he was a consensus four-star prospect who was rated as the 56th-best overall prospect and the 12th-best point guard in the country by Scout.com. He capped his preps hoops career by earning MVP honors at the Desert Dual AAU Tournament in July 2009.
Despite prodding by his cousin, running back Andre Ellington, who was attending Clemson University and is currently with the Arizona Cardinals, the Tigers would not get a family member joining their organization. Ellington decided to enroll at South Carolina as a dual-sport athlete in 2010, rather than accept scholarship offers from Clemson, Miami, Tennessee, Kansas, Georgia Tech and Auburn.
After red-shirting in football and competing on the basketball team in 2010, Ellington received All-Southeastern Conference Freshman Team gridiron honors in 2011. He started twice for the Gamecocks, gaining 211 yards with a score on seventeen receptions, touching the ball seventeen times out of the backfield for 106 yards and another score. He also gained 463 yards on 20 kickoff returns to generate 780 all-purpose yards.
As a sophomore in 2012, Ellington started all thirteen games, as the slot receiver ranked second on the squad with 40 receptions, pacing the offense with 600 yards (15.0 ypc) and grabbing seven touchdown tosses. He averaged 5.6 yards as a ball carrier and 22.56 yards on eighteen kickoff returns, averaging 79.54 all-purpose yards per game.
In 2013, the All-Southeastern Conference first-team choice and Academic All-SEC selection started eleven times in the slot. He would lead the team in all three receiving categories, catching 49 balls while his 775 yards gained and eight touchdowns both placed tenth on the school season-record chart. He completed a pass for a score and saw some action with the special teams units, delivering 913 all-purpose yards.
One of eight Gamecocks to have earned their degrees before the season concluded, Ellington decided after the Capital One Bowl victory over Wisconsin that he would forgo his senior season with the football team to pursue his dream of playing in the National Football League.
“I would like to thank Coach (Steve) Spurrier, Coach Horn and Coach Martin for giving me the opportunity to play both football and basketball at South Carolina,” said Ellington. “I also want to thank all the Gamecock fans and my teammates for the past four years in Columbia. It’s been a great experience and I’ve been truly blessed.”
Ellington impressed the team executives and coaches during his agility tests at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine. He was clocked at an impressive 4.45 seconds in the 40-yard dash, but had the third-best vertical jump (39 ½-inches) of all the wide receivers attending the event, as that measurement was tenth-best among the 335-plus players in attendance. His 20-yard shuttle time of 3.95 seconds ranked fifth of all the athletes in Indianapolis and his 11.12 clocking in the 60-yard shuttle ranked fourth among the receivers and sixth overall.
Ellington earned twenty-six starting assignments in his thirty-nine games with the South Carolina football team … Recorded 1,586 yards with sixteen touchdowns on 106 receptions (14.96 ypc) … Carried 25 times for 148 yards (5.92 ypc) and one score … Completed 4-of-5 passes for 36 yards and a touchdown … Collected 977 yards on 43 kickoff returns (22.72 avg) and 16 yards on three punt returns to finish with 2,727 all-purpose yards, an average of 69.92 yards per game … Also recorded six tackles (4 solos) … School Career-Record Results … Ranks 13th in school history with 106 receptions and his touchdown reception total is good for eighth in South Carolina annals … School Season-Record Results … The junior gained 775 yards receiving and had eight touchdown catches in 2013, both ranking tenth on the Gamecocks season-record chart.
Ellington earned All-Southeastern Conference first-team honors from the league’s coaches and the Associated Press … The Academic All-SEC choice also made the watch lists for the Biletnikoff Award (nation’s top wide receiver) and Hornung Award (top multi-Purpose player) … Appeared in all thirteen games, starting eleven as a slot receiver … Led the team with a career-high 49 receptions for 775 yards (15.82 ypc) and eight touch-downs … Rushed three times for 14 yards, completed his only pass attempt for a 9-yard touchdown (to quarterback Connor Shaw vs. Wisconsin in the 2014 Capital One Bowl), picked up 16 yards on three punt returns and 108 yards on five kickoff returns … Recorded two tackles and finished with 913 all-purpose yards, an average of 70.23 yards per game … He scored once on eight catches for 111 yards vs. Vanderbilt and picked up 88 yards on four snatches in the Central Florida clash … Two of his six receptions for 96 yards vs. Arkansas were touchdowns … Scored two more times the following week vs. Missouri, where he caught a career-high ten passes for 136 yards … In the Florida contest, he made four catches for 67 yards and a score … Closed out his career in explosive fashion vs. Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl, throwing a touchdown pass to Connor Shaw, who reciprocated by connecting with Ellington on two scoring strikes for a total of 140 yards and six receptions.
Ellington was a member of the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll…Shared the team’s Everyday Attitude & Hustle Award … Started every game at slot receiver, leading the team with 600 yards while ranking second with 40 receptions (15.0 ypc) and seven touch-downs … Generated 406 yards and averaged 22.56 yards on eighteen kickoff returns, adding 28 yards on five reverses for 1,034 all-purpose yards … After being held without a catch in the opener at Vanderbilt, he caught nine passes for 161 yards combined vs. East Carolina and Alabama-Birmingham … His first kickoff return came vs. Missouri and went 50 yards, setting up a touchdown…caught a 20-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring vs. Georgia…Added four catches with a score at Louisiana State and totaled 101 yards on six grabs that included a score while also returning three kickoffs for 66 yards vs. Tennessee, followed by 104 yards on five catches that included a 42-yard touchdown vs. Arkansas … Logged a season-best seven receptions for 72 yards and two scores, as he carried twice for five yards and returned three kicks for 70 yards vs. Clemson … Caught the game-winning touchdown pass with just seconds remaining in the Outback Bowl vs. Michigan.
Ellington earned Freshman All-SEC and Academic All-Southeastern Conference honors as an all-purpose performer after earning the same honors on the hardwood in 2010-11… Utilized in the “Wildcat” formation, as a slot receiver, he saw additional time as a kickoff returner … Caught seventeen passes for 211 yards (12.41 ypc) and a touchdown, starting two of the thirteen games he appeared in … Had seventeen rushing attempts for 106 yards (6.24 ypc) and another score … Returned twenty kickoffs for 463 yards (23.15 avg) to account for 780 all-purpose yards … Logged his best game while facing vs. his cousin, Andre, catching three passes for 71 yards and a 49-yard touchdown vs. Clemson … Named the SEC Co-Freshman of the Week for his performance at Mississippi State when he had 25 yards rushing, 24 yards passing and 32 yards receiving.
Ellington red-shirted in football, but did letter in basketball during his first season at the university.
SOUTH CAROLINA BASKETBALL
Ellington lettered in basketball during his first three seasons at South Carolina, but the point guard appeared in just three games during the 2013-14 season so he could train for the upcoming NFL Draft … 2012-13 Season … Missed the first six games of the season and the Manhattan and Presbyterian contests while competing with the football team…Saw action in 23 games with 19 starts on the year…Averaged 9.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals in 32.2 minutes per game…In SEC play, posted 9.7 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists in a team high 33.7 minutes per game…Posted 11 double-digit scoring contests, including a season high of 18 points vs. Auburn…Led or shared the team lead in scoring three times, in assists 12 times and in steals 10 times … Joined the basket-ball team for practice on November 27th and earned the start just two days later at St. John’s, scoring seven points, while playing a team high 29 minutes…Tallied double-figures in back-to-back contests, scoring 12 points vs. both Clemson and Jacksonville…Returned with 11 points in SEC opener at Mississippi State…Followed with 18-point performance and then-season high five assists vs. just two turnovers vs. Auburn…Posted seven points and collected a team high three steals vs. LSU…Posted a career high nine rebounds at Missouri…Solid from the floor, hitting 6-of-8 attempts (2-2 from 3), while dishing a team high four assists in win vs. Arkansas…Scored 14 points, matching a season high with three made 3s vs. Georgia…Posted nine points at Kentucky, including seven from the free throw line…Scored 11 points and collected three assists at Georgia…Collected a season high six assists at Texas A&M, while adding 10 points…Scored nine points and once again matched season high for second straight game with six assists vs. Mississippi State … Scored 13 points in SEC Tournament play vs. Mississippi State…Named to the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll.
2011-12 Season … Missed the first six contests of the season, and the USC Upstate contest while competing with the Carolina football team…Saw action in 24 contests with 15 starts on the year…Averaged 11.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 29.0 minutes per game … In league play, saw action in all 16 contests with 14 starts…Posted 11.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game…In overall games, led the team or shared the team lead in scoring 10 times, in assists 16 times and in steals five times…Posted 12 double-figure scoring games, 16 games with at least three assists and four games with at least two steals … Named to the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll.
2010-11 Season … Started all 30 games of his freshman campaign…Named to the SEC All-Freshman Team…Averaged a team-best 12.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.0 steals in a team-high 30.9 minutes per contest…In SEC play, averaged 12.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 0.9 steals in 31.3 minutes…Led the team in field goal attempts (423), field goals made (138), 3-point field goal attempts (198), 3-point field goals made (61), assists (97) and minutes played (928)…Led the team or shared the team lead in scoring 10 times, assists 18 times and steals nine times…Posted 16 double-figure scoring games, including seven 20-point efforts and one 30-point performance…Tallied 21 games with at least three assists and eight games with at least two steals … Named to the SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll.
2012 Season … Ellington left the Alabama-Birmingham game with a bruised shoulder.
2013 Season … Did not start the season opener vs. North Carolina while dealing with a nagging hamstring injury during fall camp.
4.45 in the 40-yard dash … 1.55 10-yard dash … 2.58 20-yard dash … 3.95 20-yard shuttle … 11.12 60-yard shuttle … 6.69 three-cone drill … 39 ½-inch vertical jump … 10’-0” broad jump … Bench pressed 225 pounds 15 times … 31-inch arm length … 9 5/8-inch hands … 75 ¾-inch wingspan.
Ellington attended Berkeley (Moncks Corner, S.C.) High School, playing football for head coach Jerry Brown … Led the Stags to the Division II-AAAA state championship in 2009 as a quarterback, as the team compiled a 14-1 record … Carried 23 times for 191 yards and four touchdowns in the state title game win and for his final season, he totaled 2,878 all-purpose yards, including 1,541 yards and 23 touchdowns on 148 carries … Also threw for 501 yards and six scores and gained 2,878 all-purpose yards … In 2009, Ellington was a finalist for South Carolina’s “Mr. Football” honors … The previous season, he logged 1,711 all-purpose yards, as he averaged ten yards per carry and 21 yards per reception. He also returned three kicks for touchdowns … In basketball, he was a consensus four-star prospect who was rated as the 56th-best overall prospect and the 12th-best point guard in the country by Scout.com … Capped his preps hoops career by earning MVP honors at the Desert Dual AAU Tournament in July 2009 … Garnered all-region honors all four years at Berkeley…Averaged 22 points, eight rebounds and six assists per game as a senior…Was named the South Carolina Coaches Association Class 4A Player of the Year, Region 7-4A Player of the Year, Post and Courier Athlete of the Year and was a McDonald’s All-America nominee following senior season…A South Carolina High School Basketball Coaches Association (SCBCA) Elite 5 (all state classifications) choice and SCBCA Top 5 Senior Class (4A) pick…Averaged 28.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists as a junior.
Ellington graduated in December, 2013, with a degree in Sociology…Has received South-eastern Conference Academic Honor Roll honors for each winter and spring semesters since enrolling at South Carolina in 2010 … Cousin of former Clemson All-Atlantic Coast Conference running back, Andre Ellington, who also wore number 23. Andre impressed as a rookie running back in 2013 as a member of the Arizona Cardinals … Son Gwen and Bruce Ellington…Born 8/22/91 … Resides in Moncks Corner, South Carolina.
PLAYER FOOTBALL STATISTICS
Other Steelers 2014 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Clemson WR Martavis Bryant
Mississippi WR Donte Moncrief
Minnesota S Brock Vereen
Ohio State CB Bradley Roby
Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard
UCLA LB Jordan Zumwalt
Washington S Deone Bucannon
Ohio State LB Ryan Shazier