Tuesday, October 22, 2013

the recruit: Jordan Ellis

Name: Jordan Ellis
Position: RB
Hometown: Suwanee, GA
School: Peachtree Ridge
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 210

24/7: 87, three stars; #50 RB, GA #65
ESPN: 76, three stars; #98 RB, SE #397, GA #77
Rivals: 5.4, two stars
Scout: three stars; #95 RB

Other offers: Miami (Ohio), Western Kentucky

Offered in May, Jordan Ellis didn't take very long to decide where he wanted to go to school; Ellis visited UVA about two weeks later and committed on the spot, rather than wait to find out if any of the other interested schools would bother offering.  Arkansas and Mississippi State recruited him slowly for several months, but never came through.  That's about the extent of the interest he got, outside of any feelers that probably came his way now that he's proving himself to be a lock for 100 yards every time he takes the field.

Why the lack of interest?  Measurables, most likely.  Also, Ellis wasn't his team's primary back last year, at least, not to start the season.  That was a fellow by the name of Walden Davis, who is more notable as a cornerback prospect these days; perhaps he got Wally Pipped a little when Ellis ran for 200+ yards while Davis was out with injury.  These days, Ellis is the workhorse.

About those measurables: I didn't find a 40 time I trust, not that I trust most 40 times, though 24/7 lists him with a 4.5.  I sort of doubt it.  Ellis highlight reels never show him outrunning a crowd.  He outruns slow non-college prospects but clearly that's not his game.  Nor does he ever put on a juke display.  In fact he almost never shakes a tackler out of his jockstrap.  The stuff he does will never pop your eyes out.

There's some other stuff he never does in his highlights, too: Never runs backwards.  Never gets taken down by just one guy.  Once past the line of scrimmage, really doesn't bother to run sideways, either.  The statistics I keep quoting in Senior Seasons ought to lead you to the same conclusion as the highlight tapes would.  Ellis very infrequently breaks one open, but always carries the ball a lot and always has yardage under his belt when he's done.  He's just plain productive.

Kevin Parks was like that in high school, although on a much higher level.  Parks set national records.  Ellis won't be doing anything like that, but such comparisons can be fuzzy and unreliable.  If eventually given the chance to get the kind of work Parks is getting, we'll see a lot of the same.  Ellis probably will never hit a home run, but he should develop into a very, very consistent singles hitter.

As for when that will be, probably not for a little while.  If Ellis is to maximize his potential, he'll have to redshirt; there are two true freshman and one of the redshirt variety on the scholarship rolls, plus Daniel Hamm.  None, except perhaps Hamm, have Ellis's very straightforward style, but that doesn't mean they can't also carry the load.  Best case for Ellis is to put a gap between him and the rest; since all of the true freshmen have burned their redshirt, they'll be juniors when (if) Ellis is a redshirt freshman.  It'll be easy to redshirt Ellis since Parks will be a senior in 2014 and there's no need to duplicate Parks's skills.  We also shouldn't discount the possibility that Ellis could get recruited over; in fact, it's still not out of the question (though I'd say unlikely) that the staff brings in a second running back.  However, Ellis runs with a toughness that's difficult to find and is uniquely difficult to bring down, so sooner or later there's a great chance he'll carve out a role of some kind.  Big or small, but he won't be left behind.

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