THE ROAD TO THE DRAFT
Kenrick Ellis, DT, Hampton
6-foot-5, 347 pounds
Draft projection: Second or third round
Lowdown: The proliferation of 3-4 will make this small-school monster too hard to pass up in the early rounds. Ellis dominated competition at Virginia's Hampton, one of the 126 Football Championship Series schools (formerly I-AA). Born and raised in Jamaica until he was 11, he was rated 12th in the country by Rivals.com coming out of high school. He picked South Carolina over Tennessee, Michigan and Michigan State, among others. But he ran afoul of team rules with the Gamecocks and left after two years. He’s huge but nimble, too. He had 15 tackles for loss as both a junior and a senior. He looked good in the Texas vs. Nation all-star game. He sat out the first game of 2010 for violating team rules, so teams will have to do their background checks on him. He said the one-game sit-down was due to the fact he did not submit some NCAA-required paperwork on time.
Ellis said he admires Hampton product Kendall Langford, now a starting defensive end for the Miami Dolphins.
"Every time when I used to be at Hampton, I'd watch Kendall Langford,” Ellis said. “He just gave us hope. Small-school guys, we're not on TV every week. Just with him doing it, it gave us hope that we could do it. Kendall was a good player. So I try to emulate what Kendall did, being strong in the weight room, working hard and trying to be just like him. … I try to emulate my game after Kendall. He was a much better athlete.”
On bouncing out of South Carolina and how he responded: “I had character issues. I had disciplinary problems. They did everything they could. It just didn't work out for me. I had to get out of there. … I had to look within myself and change a lot of things within myself and around me. And after I changed those things, it was pretty much easy after that. I had to realize that I had a problem, and I confronted it and overcame it.”
On the lack of quality nose tackles in the NFL: “I'm here to fill the shortage. Whatever they need me to do, I'm here to fill that void.”