Athlete of the Week: Bruce Ellington
MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCIV) -- It's a wait-and-see game for the ABC News 4 Athlete of the Week. Berkeley High School graduate Bruce Ellington knows he will be picked early in this week's NFL Draft.
The only questions are when and where. It's amazing for him to think that four years ago, the big question was: what sport will he play at the University of South Carolina.
"He is a dominating football player. I had the worst sleep I ever had when Bruce told me he was going to play basketball at 5-feet 9-inches and go to the NBA," said former Berkeley High head coach Dr. Jerry Brown.
What Brown knew, Ellington learned.
"It helps a lot. Football you have to be tough. I'm 5-9. I got to go against 6-10 guys, tough to be down there in the paint," Ellington said.
Aged and wise, Brown knows a good thing when he sees it. From the time he laid eyes on the little kid with the quick feet in Moncks Corner, Brown knew Ellington would be a gridiron great.
"Bruce at Berkeley High School dominated the game. Every game was about him his senior year. Talk to anybody. you kind of know how pretty good Bruce is, you don't really know how good Bruce is," he said.
Above raw talent, Ellington had the ability to win the big game, from a title game at Berkeley to a game-winning catch in the Outback Bowl. One of his best ever performances came in the Capital One Bowl.
"Coming from a small town that I come from, seeing this stuff, it's big to me. God has put me in a great situation and I'm just happy to be here," Ellington said.
Some success is owed to the competition with is cousin Andre, and some to USC's head ball coach Steve Spurrier and even to Frank Martin, the head basketball coach. But so much is drawn back on the man who Ellington will sit with this week to see what the future holds -- Dr. Brown.
"The things he does -- discipline. He makes his teams learn discipline. I think that helps a lot. He builds a team, keeps us close together, before games, we'd go to the church and watch a movie together, stuff like that just chemistry for the team, he did a great job at Berkeley," Ellington said.
And now he's waiting on the NFL spotlight to turn his direction. He's a college graduate, one of the most versatile players ever at USC, and within an arm's reach of being a millionaire.
"I work hard, I've been training hard, I'm just ready for a team that believes in me to get me and to go out there, see what I can do and play. I just want to get my name called. I don't care when it comes, I just want to get to the NFL and make some plays," he said.
"I'm very excited, it's been a long process. Going through the combine and Pro Day, meeting with all the coaches, visiting teams, working out for teams -- it's a once in a lifetime opportunity and I'm just ready for that call."
Ellington has been an Athlete of the Week since he first stepped foot onto the field at Berkeley and that hasn't changed at any level of the game. Just like his love of playing sports, one is never enough.
Ellington is projected as a first- or second-round pick. He will watch the draft with family and friends in Moncks Corner. Of course, Dr. Brown will be there by his side.