South Carolina’s Bruce Ellington had a great college career that included leading the Gamecocks on the basketball court as the team’s starting point guard for three-plus seasons while also playing wide receiver for South Carolina in the fall.
Although the 5-foot-9 Ellington was the No. 96 overall prospect for basketball in Rivals.com‘s 2010 national rankings, there aren’t many point guards with that kind of size in the NBA.
So Ellington re-focused his efforts on the gridiron before his final season at South Carolina and the move paid off on Saturday as Ellington was selected in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. Ellington was the 106th overall pick.
Leading into Saturday’s third day of the 2014 NFL Draft, ESPN draft experts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay had Ellington as the best available prospect on their big boards and Ellington had 49 receptions for 775 yards and eight touchdowns last season for Steve Spurrier’s ballclub. All three marks led South Carolina for the 2013 season and Ellington averaged 15.8 yards per catch.
Ellington’s signature performances on the football field this season included 10 receptions for 136 yards and two touchdowns in a two-overtime win over Missouri and six receptions for 140 yards and two touchdowns in the Capital One Bowl win over Wisconsin.
For his football career, Ellington amassed 66 receptions for 1,586 yards and 16 touchdowns.
On the basketball court, Ellington was a key member of the Gamecocks for three seasons as he averaged near double-figures in points during his three full seasons for South Carolina. Ellington saw his production on the court decrease over the course of his career, however, as the point guard focused more of his attention on football.
Ellington averaged 12.8 points per game his freshman season before putting up 10.6 points a game as a sophomore and 9.9 points a game as a junior. Ellington only played 69 minutes of basketball during the 2013-14 season, scoring 17 points, dishing out five assists and grabbing four rebounds.
The NFL Draft has seen college basketball players selected before, but Ellington is expected to be the only player selected in 2014 with significant college hoops experience. That won’t stop NFL teams from trying to find the next Antonio Gates or Jimmy Graham, however, as Miami forward Erik Swoope worked out with the Denver Broncos and Kansas big man Tarik Black has received support from Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Both Black and Swoope could receive tryouts or a training camp invitation.
Former Washington tight end and Tampa Bay Buccaneers second-round pick Austin Seferian-Jenkins also played some college basketball as the 6-foot-6 forward played in 17 games for Lorenzo Romar’s squad during his freshman year in 2011-12.