Published March 28, 2012 - 6:25pm
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Nothing to fear Gamecock fans.
Bruce is back.
Hours after Frank Martin was introduced as South Carolina’s new head basketball coach Tuesday, Bruce Ellington appeared at football practice in shorts and a helmet. He ran drills with the first-teamers and as coach Steve Spurrier put it, “was one of the fastest guys out there.”
The 5-foot-9 receiver, who also starts at point guard, announced last week he would no longer play two sports at USC. His heart was with basketball and he wanted to honor his athletic commitment made out of Berkeley High in Moncks Corner, S.C.
Ellington’s since changed his mind.
“He thought it over and thought he made a little too quick a decision,” Spurrier said. “He realizes he’s pretty good at football and wants to play both.”
Ellington was a prep standout on the gridiron, a former state champion quarterback for the Stags. He accounted for 29 touchdowns his senior season in 2009 with 2,878 all-purpose yards.
Ellington made the SEC’s All-Freshman team last season for the Gamecocks after finishing with 707 all-purpose yards and wowed the home crowd with a pair of long, memorable touchdowns against Kentucky and Clemson. He also took multiple snaps in the Wildcat formation, mainly at Mississippi State — Connor Shaw’s first road start under center.
The Gamecocks won a school-record 11 games in 2011 and Spurrier is excited to have an additional weapon returning on the outside. With the departure of Alshon Jeffery to the NFL Draft, Ace Sanders, Ellington and K.J. Brent should see the bulk of reps this spring.
At the Colonial Life Arena, Martin was quickly asked at his introductory press conference what role Ellington would play on his basketball team. The Gamecocks finished last in the SEC this season with a 2-14 conference record and have qualified for the NCAA Tournament once since 1998.
If he chooses, Ellington would return as the Gamecocks top scorer next season at 10.6 PPG.
“I don’t think that’s fair for me to answer that right now because I don’t know Bruce as a young man yet,” Martin said. “I know him as a player, unbelievable basketball player, but I don’t know him as a person.”