It’s not often someone takes the huge step from being in a few plays on special teams one year to being noticed by NFL scouts the next, but that is exactly what is happening to wide receiver Marshall Ellick at Temple football practice this spring.
In five days at the annual Cherry and White game, thousands of fans will soon find out what all the fuss is about and what head coach Matt Rhule already knows. Two weeks ago, Rhule casually mentioned to the press that a couple of NFL scouts attending spring practice asked about the heretofore obscure wide receiver who was making all of the plays. Rhule then dropped the bombshell that it was Ellick, who did not appear on the depth chart last year, and added that he could be a starter at wide receiver come the fall.
The redshirt sophomore from Richmond (Va.) might be a late bloomer because he split his time in high school between quarterback and wide receiver and was never able to amass the kind of stats that would make him a blue-chip recruit at either position. Still, his athleticism was always unmistakable so he found a spot on the special teams last season. It turned out to be a place-setter for something much better.
Ellick wears No. 84 now (after wearing No. 24 during the fall and No. 14 last spring), so the thousands of fans who attend on Saturday might want to write that number down to check and see what made the pros take notice. This was surprising not just because of Ellick’s lack of recent playing time, but because there are so many other guys who apparently have a head start on him. Guys like Ventell Bryant, who started all 14 games last year, Romond Deloatch and Cortrelle Simpson. Keith Kirkwood, who started at Hawaii and transferred to Temple and started three games for the Owls in 2014, is also in the mix.
Things could change, but rising to the top of that mix is Ellick, who is 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, ran a 4.5-40 in high school and has caught everything thrown in his direction this spring. His is a story worth following, not just now, but through December.