Gamecocks' two-sport athlete Bruce Ellington could return to football team

Bruce Ellington's career on the South Carolina football field may not be over just yet.

It was just last week that Ellington told coaches from both the Gamecock basketball and football teams that he would be giving up his role as a receiver-returner on the gridiron in order to commit to his basketball career full-time. But that was before Gamecock basketball head coach Darrin Horn was fired after a 10-21, 2-14 SEC disappointment during which Ellington averaged 11 points per-game, second on the team.

In the wake of Horn's dismissal, Ellington has been reconsidering his decision to retire from football, Steve Spurrier said on his weekly radio show Monday.

“If he wants to play both, let's go play both. If he wants to pick one and go out, he has that choice,” Spurrier said. “We want him to play football if he wants to, definitely. We don't want football if his heart is in basketball. Let's really think this thing out thoroughly.”

Despite Spurrier's calls for Ellington to take his time with the decision, it's possible Horn's departure has already made up Ellington's mind for him; his former high school coach told the Charleston Post and Courier that Ellington has already told Gamecock wide receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. he would return for his sophomore season of football. (Ellington has played two seasons of basketball and will be a junior academically.)

It's not surprising to hear Spurrier say that if Ellington is fully committed to another year of football, he'll be welcomed with open arms. Though Ellington wasn't exactly an overnight star for the Gamecocks, his contributions were hardly insignificant, either; he finished third on the team in receiving yards, sixth in rushing (averaging 6.2 yards per-carry), and first in total kick return yardage.

On a team that needs all the help it can get at wideout, and might even need a hand at running back, too, the gift horse of a versatile, multi-faceted athlete like Ellington is one Spurrier's not going to look in the mouth.

For up-to-the-minute reports throughout South Carolina's spring camp -- and beyond -- follow reporter Josh Kendall's Gamecock RapidReports.

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