Bruce Ellington's former high school coach expects him to play football at South Carolina this coming season, after all.
Ellington announced last Monday that he would participate only in basketball next year. He was USC's point guard as a freshman in 2010-11. He played basketball and football this school year, serving as a wide receiver for the football team though his primary role involved kickoff returns.
Ellington said immediately after USC's basketball season ended that the future of fourth-year coach Darrin Horn would not impact his decision about which sport or sports to play in the future. A day after Ellington's announcement, USC fired Horn.
USC football coach Steve Spurrier said on his radio call-in show Monday that he met with Ellington earlier in the day and wants him to take some time to consider whether he would like to play football, basketball or both. Spurrier expects Ellington to decide by the end of the week.
Jerry Brown, who coached Ellington at Berkeley High School and is now at Batesburg-Leesville High, said Ellington spoke with USC wide receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. on Saturday and has decided to definitely give football another shot. Brown acknowledged he had not spoken directly to Ellington, but got this information from Tony Cox, an assistant coach at Berkeley who keeps in touch with Ellington.
"They're going to list him on the roster," Brown said. "He'll be participating in spring, as far as I know. He's pretty much committed to football now, as far as the whole (2012) season. Whether or not he's going to play basketball, I don't know if he's sure about that yet. That's what I understood (from talking to Cox)."
Ellington has not officially announced a change to his decision from last Monday. Cox did not immediately return a phone message.
Was Horn's firing the reason for Ellington's apparent change of heart?
"I think it's some of that, and he also really realizes his future may be in football," Brown said. "I just think he reconsidered, as far as his options."
Ellington was on a basketball scholarship as a freshman and a football scholarship this school year as a sophomore. His announcement that he was committing to basketball meant USC would have two spots available for its new basketball coach to fill, if the Gamecocks wanted to reach the NCAA maximum of 13 scholarships.
If Ellington leaves the basketball team or decides to play both sports but remains on a football scholarship, the new basketball coach would have three spots available to fill during the spring signing period, provided no current players decide to transfer.