South Carolina junior Bruce Ellington is the Gamecocks’ leading receiver on the football team and the starting point guard on the basketball team. The former two-sport star at Berkeley High School scored the game-winning touchdown against Michigan in the Outback Bowl, and has high expectations for USC and himself this season.
Has playing football and basketball hurt your development in either sport?
“Probably a little bit. To be really good at this level you have to play a sport year-round. I just didn’t want to pick one over the other, and everyone has been very supportive of me doing both. I think if I’ve been hurt at all, it’s been in basketball because you really do have to play basketball year-round to stay sharp. I noticed when I got back last year from football season, it took me longer to get into basketball shape.”
Jadeveon Clowney said he looks up to you. How does that make you feel?
“Amazing. He’s the most amazing athlete I’ve ever seen. The things he does during practice and during games is unbelievable. The Hit was a great play, but he does that sort of thing almost every day in practice. Every time I see him, I’m just glad he’s on our team.”
Do you get a chance to talk with (cousin and Arizona Cardinals running back) Andre Ellington?
“We try to talk at least once or twice a week. He’s been pretty busy with the camp. He said the biggest difference between college and the NFL is the playbook. It’s so much bigger and more complicated. Everyone is fast in the NFL and everyone is smart.”
You’ve got another year of eligibility left in football. Do you come back or pursue the NBA?
“I’m not looking that far ahead. It’s football season, so I’m worried about football right now. I’ll make those decisions when the time comes after basketball season is over. The only thing I know is that I love being here at South Carolina.”
Where does the game-winning touchdown catch against Michigan rank among your biggest moments at USC?
“It’s certainly up there. That and making the layup that won the game against Alabama. Those are the top two plays of my career so far. I’m hoping that there will be plenty more this year.”
There are questions about this year’s receiving corps with the loss of Ace Sanders. Are you concerned?
“Everyone thought we wouldn’t be very good last year and we surprised a lot of people. We lost Ace Sanders, he was a great player, but we lost Alshon (Jeffery) the year before and we had a good year last year. We’ve got guys on this team that can make plays. We’re going to go out each day and get better. We’re going to be fine.”
South Carolina's Bruce Ellington looks for a teammate as Mississippi State's Colin Borchert defends at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, South Carolina, on Wednesday, March 6, 2013. The host Gamecocks won, 79-72. (Gerry Melendez/The State/MCT)×