With C.J. Spiller in the Buffalo Bills' training camp, the running back position is now a timeshare between former Berkeley star Ellington and Jamie Harper. The duo is hoping to become the next thunder-and-lightning combo at Clemson, following in the productive footsteps of Spiller and James Davis.
Even with Spiller on campus last year, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney called you the most "decisive" runner on the roster. He thought that might have stemmed from your experience in a similar blocking scheme in high school, Do you credit your early success to that?
"It helped out a lot. It's kind of something I am used to when I'm out there. I'm able to play on the edge just knowing what's going on, what's happening and when it is going to happen. It gives me a chance to be a better player. ... The schemes are pretty much the same; the only thing different is the speed."
Do you worry about the comparisons to Spiller, or trying to fill his shoes?
"Not at all. I never want to compare myself to that guy because he is one of a kind. I just want to be my own player."
Swinney said some of the backs kind of rolled their eyes when Spiller announced he was returning prior to last season, and hence taking the majority of the playing time. But Swinney thought his return was beneficial to you and Harper. Is that true?
"I learned a lot about the leadership role. (Spiller) was a great leader on and off the field. It gave me a chance to go and teach the younger guys that we have coming in this year."
What's the biggest change on offense this summer?
"Guys are a lot smarter along the offensive line. They are showing a lot up front. There was a lot of talk last year that they weren't ready for the season, but they are showing a lot this year."
How much of the workload are you expecting? (Ellington rushed 68 times last year, Harper had 80 carries, while Spiller rushed 216 times).
"Having to split carries, it will probably be a little less (than Spiller), but however many times I get it I'll try to make the best of it."
Spiller had eight plays of 20 yards or more and four touchdowns in the passing game. Can you and Jamie combine for similar numbers?
"We are just putting a little (of the offense) in at a time. But I'm sure coach has a little up his sleeve. We'll be ready for it."
What are the folks in Moncks Corner saying to you these days?
"They are just excited. They know it's supposed to be a big year for me and the team."