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South Carolina’s Bruce Ellington adds Steelers to pre-draft visits

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Bruce Ellington, a receiver and basketball star for the South Carolina GameCocks has been making pre- 2014 NFL Draft visits around the league.  On Friday, Ellington visited with the Pittsburgh Steelers at the South Side facility.

According to Kent Somers of AZCentral.com, Ellington has been receiving more attention lately, including from the Arizona Cardinals where his cousin, Andre Ellington, spent his rookie season (2013) rushing for 652 yards and three touchdowns on 189 carries.  While the pull to keep family ties may have drawn Ellington to visit with Arizona this week, he didn’t rule out playing elsewhere by meeting with the Steelers.

Ellington is a smaller receiver at 5 foot 9 and 197 pounds, but he garnered attention at the 2014 NFL Combine with top performances in three categories; 39.5 inch vertical leap, 3.95 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle and 11.12 seconds in the 60-yard shuttle.  His greatest strengths may be the ability to not only burst off of the line, but accelerating quickly to create space between himself and defensive backs with a strong vertical threat.  While with South Carolina, Ellington showed that he has great hands and isn’t afraid to take a hit to complete a play.

One of the reasons Ellington didn’t gain more immediate attention from professional scouts was that he spent his time at South Carolina divided between football and basketball.  He was the GameCocks’ starting point guard.  Now that Ellington has put football first and declared for the 2014 NFL Draft, he is being looked over as a possible slot receiver.

In high school, Ellington led his team to a state championship as a quarterback.  Good hands aren’t a question with Ellington.  His durability in the NFL is, however.  During the 2010 season with South Carolina, Ellington played mostly in the Wildcat formation – something that the Steelers haven’t embraced.  Ellington was an 11 game starter in 2013 and he played in all 13 games for South Carolina.  He recorded six catches for 140 yards and three touchdowns in the GameCocks’ Capital One Bowl victory over Wisconsin.

While Ellington hasn’t made anyone blink twice over his stats over the last two years in Columbia, he kept pace with 89 catches, 1,375 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns in that time.  What he lacks in polish may turn into a project for an NFL team that is willing to take him as not only a receiver, but a return specialist.  Ellington has shown that he can be a game changer, but that was at the college level.

NFLDraftScout.com has Ellington projected to go in the 2-3rd round, possibly as high as 77th overall.  They rank him as the 13th highest wide receiver.

It may be Ellington’s easy personality and willingness to be coachable that could land him a roster spot in the NFL.  He has an outstanding work ethic and is the type of player to give 100 percent on the field.

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