The Final Cockdown: #23 Bruce Ellington

Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuce. - USA TODAY Sports

Last year's leading receiver looks to be one of Carolina's most potent weapons in 2013.

Bruce Ellington
Junior Wide Receiver
5'9", 196 lbs.
Monck's Corner, SC

Recruitment:
Unranked by 247 in football but probably would have been a 4-star recruit; was a consensus 4-star basketball prospect
Other offers: Clemson, Tennessee, Kansas, Miami, Georgia Tech, Auburn

College Career:
We all know the story: Bruce opted for the hardcourt, earning freshman SEC All-Freshman honors in 2010. But he was unable to ignore the lure of football, and spoke to the coaches about double-dipping. After receiving Darrin Horn's blessing and Steve Spurrier's welcome, Ellington suited up at wideout and kick returner and became increasingly visible as 2011 wore on. You'll remember in our drubbing of Kentucky when he ran for a 61 yard touchdown out of the wildcat formation. Bruce was a true star in 2012, shining most brightly in the Byear's home stretch, and punctuating the 2012 season with this much-ballyhooed touchdown reception.

2012 Stats:
(takes deep breath) 13 games played, 40 receptions, 600 yards, 7 touchdowns, 5 rushes, 28 yards, 18 kick returns, 22.56 average, long of 50

2013 Outlook:
Expectations are high for he who a flustered Tommy Moody called, "Probably, unquestionably the greatest athlete probably ever to play at Carolina" after that heroic bowl-sealing touchdown catch. And why not? We see plenty of two-sport athletes, but few can claim to be major contributors on both fronts. Bruce headlines a receiving corps that boasts mountains of potential but relatively little in the way of valuable field experience outside of he, Nick Jones and Damiere Byrd. What I love most about Ellington is his finesse, his ability to adapt or correct during game action. Remember that 4th-down touchdown reception against Arkansas when he sat in a hole in the zone—which Spurrier would later say was improvised—then deked his way past a safety for the score? And of course there's that Outback Bowl catch, when he danced around the convening DBs to slide into the endzone untouched. He's a smart player, a physical specimen (never mind his height—50 gassers!), and now an established team leader, beloved by Spurrier and Frank Martin alike. So long as he stays healthy, Bruce should be one of the 2013 team's most steady and effective weapons.

Pretty cool, considering football wasn't even part of the plan.

Trivia:
Bruce Ellington's cousin, Andre, played for Clemson. You can see him here in a highlight.

Possible Todd Ellis play-by-play call:
"Shaw drops back, he'll fake the hand off, and unload! He has man, caught! Caught at the 45, by Bruce Ellington, who's already three steps ahead of the nearest defender, and he'll take it all the way in for the score! Touchdown! Touchdown Carolina! And wait, what's this? He's running over to the sidelines—it looks like he's trying to find someone. Indeed, it's the young blonde trainer who gained internet fame for ogling Bruce on the sidelines last season! What's this? Bruce is down on one knee! Ladies and gentlemen, Bruce is proposing—she says yes! What a storybook ending! Boom!"

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