South Carolina's Bruce Ellington is One Rare Athlete

By Zach Virnig
South Carolina Football, SEC Football
Jeff Blake-USA Today Sports

The 2013 South Carolina Gamecocks have the talent, they have the maturity, and they have the speed. Needless, to say the Gamecocks have every ingredient to win their second SEC Eastern division championship in school history in this year’s upcoming season.

Everybody knows about Jadeveon Clowney, the best player in the land abusing quarterbacks at his defensive end assignment.  The Old Ball Coach might be wild in nature, but nobody seems to mind after two straight 11-win seasons. Running back Mike Davis has given every indication that he’ll branch out off Marcus Lattimore’s footsteps.

While everybody gets caught up in the traffic of those strengths coming back, it’s hard not to look at wide receiver Bruce Ellington and not leave star struck. He is the person from day one that continually gets left out of the loop when South Carolina ever gets brought up.

The majority of South Carolina’s congregation seems to believe these days that Ellington might be the best purest athlete the school has ever witnessed.

Ellington is the equivalent of a Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders of his time. He not only surfaces on the gridiron but also the hardwood when football season is over.

Ellington led the football operation in receiving yards with 600 on 40 catches with seven touchdowns in 2012.  Add those numbers to an almost 11 point average in his career as a Gamecock point guard and you quickly ask yourself what should be his primary sport.

Until a breakout game against Arkansas at home last season, in which Ellington caught a career high 104 yards, the question was left unanswered.  The younger cousin of former Clemson and current Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington was used primarily his freshman season in football as a wide out in the Wildcat” formation, with kick-returner his main chore. Ellington now is strongly considered Bruce, the flashy and 4.3 speed demon offensive weapon in football.

Ellington capped the season off with the game-winning touchdown pass with just seconds remaining in the Outback Bowl vs. Michigan. Ellington called it the best moment of his life at SEC Media Days. He returned to the hardwood, in new head coach Frank Martin’s first season, a week later to play in South Carolina’s SEC opener.

Ellington now presents a lot to the table in year three because of Ace Sanders’ departure to the offense. The Jacksonville Jaguars’ Sanders and Ellington were last season’s Joe Adams as the SEC’s most explosive playmakers. The rest of the country has taken notice of his toolbox of traits. Ellington was named to the Paul Hornung watch list during the offseason. The Paul Hornung award is given to the most versatile player in college football.

Ellington must show the same kind of leadership which he got from Sanders, in only his third football season, to up and comers Nick Jones and Damiere Byrd. Wide receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. has mentioned that he’s ahead of the curve when it comes to mentoring and leading the players behind him.

Ellington could hamper expectations early in the season, after suffering an ankle injury in practice last Tuesday; the season opener against North Carolina is highly questionable. The team could take a step back in not just their offense, but also special teams after Ellington was getting a heavy dose of practice time returning punts.

Ellington has two seasons of football remaining and one in basketball. He has let it be known that he would love to finish his career in both sports at Columbia. That’s a thought many didn’t think had a chance in March 2012, after reports surfaced that he was giving up on football after frustration from his former basketball head coach Darrin Horn’s firing.

Zach Virnig is a SEC Writer for Follow him on Twitter @ZacharyVirnig, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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