Tuesday, July 15, 2014
One look is all people need to know to see that Bruce Ellington is having the time of his life.
Swarmed by parents and young football fans seeking his autograph during the Ellington football camp he and cousin Andre hosted last week, Bruce Ellington needed to pinch himself to make sure he isn’t dreaming.
“This is so much fun, this is fantastic,” Ellington said of the last six months when he declared himself eligible for the NFL draft, foregoing his senior season at South Carolina.
He had accomplished all he could accomplish as a Gamecock.It was time for more.
“The only sad thing about Bruce’s career at South Carolina is that they never utilized him to his fullest potential,” said Jerry Brown, former Stags football coach and current coach at Spring Valley. “I think the football side at South Carolina resented that he went there to play basketball first and they decided to just use him as a receiver.
“They could have done so much more with him but they chose not to.”
Brown said Ellington would enjoy a much more successful and satisfying career in the NFL than he did at South Carolina.
“The 49ers know what Bruce can do and they will allow him to realize his complete potential as a professional football player. You haven’t begun to see what Bruce Ellington can do on a football field.”
While a football man, Brown didn’t see choosing basketball as a bad choice, just that he chose to play basketball at South Carolina.
“They are not a basketball school, they are a football school and they haven’t won here since Frank McGuire was coach,” he said. “I don’t think Bruce would have had the opportunity in the NBA that he’s going to have in the NFL. I told him at the end of the day he was still 5-9 and you don’t see many 5-9 players in the NBA.”
Brown smiled as if he knew a well kept secret, “But there are a lot of 5-9 football players today. The game is getting away from the big football player and going back to a faster style game, which fits Bruce perfectly.”
For Ellington, he’s just happy for the opportunity. He will be slotted at the wide receiver position, where he scored the winning touchdowns in the Gamecocks’ last two bowl games.
“I’m working hard in summer training and just looking for an opportunity to play,” Ellington said.
A fourth round pick in this year’s NFL draft, Ellington fits into the 49ers plans, and joins former teammate Marcus Lattimore on the San Francisco roster.
Mom Gwen Ellington said they keep her son busy and set him up with living accommodations close to the 49ers training camp.
“They want to keep the players close by so they don’t get in trouble,” she said. “They’re living on their own but the 49ers keep a close eye on them as there is a big adjustment to life in the NFL.”
The big adjustment meaning money.
“Bruce did buy himself a car,” she said, “But the other day I received a check in the mail from him made out to the church, so his head and his heart is in the right place.”
This is why Ellington gives back to his community and tomorrow’s Stags football stars.
“You never know if somewhere out there among these 700 kids there’s the next big football star,” he said. “We just want to help keep that dream alive.”