2017 NFL Draft

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Kenrick Ellis

| | College: Hampton
Copyright NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange

Many prospects from the Football Championship Subdivision fell through the recruiting cracks. Ellis is one of a few to end up in the former Division 1AA after being dismissed from a major college program. Despite his off-field issues, NFL teams will be impressed by his combination of size and athleticism.

The Jamaican-born Ellis redshirted as a freshman at South Carolina after a strong high school career in which he racked up 23 sacks in his final two seasons. In 2007, he played in 11 games (starting the finale), making 11 tackles including three for loss. In the spring of 2008, however, the Gamecocks first suspended Ellis for the first three games of the following season then dismissed him for repeated violations of team policy (reportedly due to multiple failed drug tests). He transferred to Hampton and stood out as expected, earning second-team All-MEAC honors with 39 tackles, including 7.5 for loss and 3.5 sacks. Ellis stepped up his game in 2009, garnering first-team all-conference accolades with 51 stops, 15 for loss, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

Ellis did not disappoint as a senior -- 94 tackles, including 34 solo, 15 for loss, two sacks -- repeating first-team All-MEAC honors. However, he tripped another red flag for teams when he was suspended for the first game of the 2010 season. He often looked like an SEC talent playing among FCS competition, showing brute strength and very nimble feet for a man his size. Teams utilizing 3-4 schemes would see him as a first-round talent. But character counts in the NFL, making difficult the prospects of drafting a player with excess baggage before the third round treacherous. Some teams will take him off their board altogether.


Pass rush: Might not put up huge sack numbers as quarterbacks will be aware of his presence inside. Shows good quickness off the ball in obvious passing situations. Can bull rush when single-blocked by extending his arms or swim over defenders reaching to engage him using quick hands. Uses long arms and big hands to cloud passing lanes but hasn't actually tipped many passes (one in his first two seasons at Hampton). Keeps his eyes in the backfield while engaged by a blocker. Will go to the sideline to chase scrambling quarterbacks or get off blocks to follow screens. Wants to play finesse game, as if he's a light and agile tackle, trying to spin or run around blockers, instead of overpowering and destroying blockers. Runs by mobile or pocket-savvy quarterbacks on his initial burst but does show hustle on secondary rush.

Run defense: Looks like a run-stuffer and can play the part, but surprises with his agility and foot quickness. Agile enough to move with blockers on zone plays; can disengage to prevent cutback lanes. Holds up double teams to eat space but can also penetrate into the backfield. Can push back two defenders when keeping his hips low and churning his feet. Good hustle for his size, especially when rested as part of a regular rotation. Chases down plays to the sideline, as well as from behind even if they go 15-20 yards downfield when rested (even in the fourth quarter); he is not credited with many stops in those situations, but is in position if his teammates can't stop the ball. Spins off double-teams to grab ballcarriers coming through the hole or funnel toward linebackers. Has nimble feet to jump over fallen blockers but is susceptible to the cut block because of his height. Has difficulty regaining his balance. Runs past ballcarriers because he fails to break down quickly.

Explosion: Excellent upper-body build and girth. Has potential to show great strength off the snap to uncoil and uproot blockers. Not just a mammoth run-stopper, he lines up at the one- and three-technique positions to be explosive as a pass rusher. Average NFL first step, but it's quick enough to pressure the pocket when focused on getting to the quarterback.

Strength: Man among boys at the FCS level due to his size and strength. Anchors against double-team, not moved backward easily. Rips off single blocks with strong hands and downward motion, though he will stand around when he tires. Holds off linemen with one shoulder when slanting and is able to spin in the opposite direction to make tackles. Will have more difficulty maintaining leverage against NFL interior linemen unless he sinks his hips to hold his ground consistently.

Tackling: Swallows running backs in the hole with great mass and length. Pure size and strength make him an explosive tackler that ballcarriers don't want to feel hit them. Good change-of-direction agility with quick feet, but struggles to stay low and break down in space. Has some upfield burst. Can work against him in that he cannot stop his forward momentum when rushing up the field.

Intangibles: Dismissal from South Carolina for multiple rules violations is a major red flag, and his one-game suspension in 2010 also added to those worries. On-field effort is not an issue.

2010 Season

First Team All-MEAC, second on the team in tackles with 94 total tackles (34 solo, 60 assisted), was also second on the team with 15.0 tackles for loss totaling 37 yards and was second on the team with 2.0 sacks on the season. Ellis recorded a career-high 16 tackles (seven solo, nine assisted) at Howard on Sept. 11 on his way to earning MEAC Defensive Player of the Week honors, and he also had 15 tackles (two solo, 13 assisted) at North Carolina Central on Oct. 9. Both of his sacks came at Howard.

2009 Season

All Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference first team … totaled 15 tackles for loss in 2009, and only 1.5 were on sacks. He was fifth on the team with 51 tackles, including a season-high nine against Delaware State. He also forced a pair of fumbles and recovered one.

2008 Season

Second team All-MEAC. Played in 11 games for the Pirates, starting in nine … recorded 39 tackles on the season, including 16 solo efforts … recorded a season-high seven tackles (five solo, two assisted) in a season-ending win at Morgan State … had five tackles, all assisted in a win over North Carolina A&T … also record five tackles (four solo, one assisted) at Delaware State … second on the team with 3.5 sacks on the season … recorded a full sack each against Howard, Delaware State and Norfolk State … recorded 7.5 tackles for loss … had one tackle for a loss of eight yards at Delaware State.

2007 Season

Played in 11-of-12 games in 2007 … most of his work came on special teams until the final three games of the season … earned the start in the season finale against Clemson … responded with a career-high five tackles in that contest … logged 11 tackles overall, including 10 solo stops … three of his 11 stops were credited in the backfield … nine of his tackles were logged in the final three games of the season.

2006 Season

Redshirted as a true freshman.

High School

Graduated from John I. Leonard High School in Greenacres, Fla., where he was coached by Brian Coe … four-star prospect, according to Rivals.com … tabbed as the No. 12 defensive tackle in the country by Rivals.com and was recognized as the No. 23 player in the state of Florida by the web site … made 67 tackles, 10 sacks and blocked two kicks his senior year despite having the season cut to only eight games as a result of hurricanes … played in the Outback Steakhouse All-Star Game … Class 6A third-team all-state honoree at defensive tackle, according to the Florida Sports Writers Association his junior year.


Kenrick Ellis was born Dec. 10, 1987 … plans on majoring in business management … chose South Carolina over scholarship offers from Tennessee, Michigan, Michigan State, NC State and Rutgers.


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