Every now and again, you'll see even the best college football players dabble in offseason basketball, as those who remember Julius Peppers snaring rebounds for the Tar Heels or Matt Jones running the floor for the Razorbacks will recall.
But for obvious reasons -- season overlap, the risk of career-ending injury, etc. -- examples of players transitioning from the hardcourt to the gridiron are few and far between. Examples of really good basketball players doing so are virtually unheard of. So take note of what's happening at South Carolina, because you won't see it again anytime soon:
Bruce Ellington is making a move to play football for the Gamecocks.
A source inside the football office confirmed today that the freshman point guard has spoken this week with both basketball coach Darrin Horn and a couple of USC’s football coaches ...
It remains to be seen what becomes of Ellington’s basketball career ... Ellington led the Gamecocks in scoring this past season, averaging 12.8 points a game. He also averaged 3.2 assists a game.
That's right: so powerful is the pull of SEC football that its teams can recruit the best athletes off their schools' own basketball teams. Steve Spurrier confirmed this afternoon that Ellington's move was official; he'll play "somewhere on offense" for the Gamecocks.
How much of an impact will he make? At 5'9" and 200 pounds, the former high school quarterback is expected to be a slot reciver-slash-scatback. Given his role in leading Berkeley High School to a 2009 state football championship, if he can shake the rust off, it's certainly not out of the question for him to become a contributor. (He'll get a late start, though; NCAA rules regarding two-sport athletes will prevent him from taking part in spring practice.)
But however large a role he plays for Spurrier's Gamecocks, it's almost certain to be dwarfed by his role for Horn's. As good as this news might be for the football team, if Ellington turns his back on basketball for good, it's that much worse for the SC hoops team.