Let me preface this blog post with this – I have never seen Bruce Ellington play football. I understand he was undoubtedly a Division I prospect in the sport, was wanted by Steve Spurrier and staff, and put on an epic performance in the last football game he played. That being said…
This Bruce Ellington playing football thing is a bad idea.
Let’s look at it practically. Early indications are Ellington is going to play on offense and possibly return kicks. Let’s make the following assumptions:
- We can generously assume about 70 offensive plays in a game.
- Marcus Lattimore will get 25 rushing attempts per game, and catch three passes per game.
- Alshon Jeffery will have eight catches per game.
- Stephen Garcia will have 10 incompletions and at least five rushing attempts per game.
That would leave 19 offensive touches that remain to be divided between some combination of Kenny Miles, Eric Baker, Justice Cunningham, D.L. Moore, Ace Sanders, Nick Jones, Jason Barnes, Lamar Scruggs, DeAngelo Smith, and Bryce Sherman. That doesn’t include possible contributions from incoming freshmen Damiere Byrd and Shon Carson among others.
Oh, and Bruce Ellington.
Is Ellington better than all the “others” I listed? Maybe, but odds are he’ll be no better than the middle of that pack this coming football season. Maybe I’m being too skeptical of Ellington’s talents. Part of me hopes so.
I’m also thinking short term in only talking about 2011, I know. Can he develop into an impact player on the football field over the next few years? If he does, what does that mean for his basketball career?
I’m sure the football staff is excited, they have absolutely nothing to lose in this endeavor.
Meanwhile, the bad week that Darren Horn was having just got exponentially worse. He had already lost one double-digit scorer from his team, and now he’ll be without another until at least January. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you we couldn’t afford to lose one double-digit scorer, much less two.
To be the player Darren Horn wants him to be, the player Horn builds this program around, Ellington needs to be on a basketball court as much as possible. His talent is undeniable, but only practice and experience will help him with his decision making and shooting, two areas in which he needs vast improvement to be the player we know he can be.
It’s hard to drop dimes and hit threes from the Proving Grounds, the film room, or a study session with the wide receiver corps.
The days of the two-sport college star are all but gone. There are too many demands on major college football and basketball players for them to excel at both.
Instead of being great at one sport, I’m afraid Bruce Ellington is putting himself on a path to be average at two.