Ellis booted from football team

Horn responds to Gray’s comments; Richt returns from Middle East trip

jperson@thestate.com May 28, 2008 

DESTIN, Fla. — South Carolina backup defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis has been dismissed from the team for violating university policy, Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said Tuesday following the first day of the SEC spring meetings.

Spurrier would not divulge the reason for Ellis’ dismissal, although a source said Ellis had failed multiple drug tests.

“Kenrick’s gone,” Spurrier said. “He’s finished.”

Ellis, a redshirt freshman from West Palm Beach, Fla., appeared in all 12 games last season, finishing with five tackles against Clemson in his only start. The 6-foot-5, 353-pounder, who battled weight problems throughout his career, was listed as a second-teamer on the Gamecocks’ spring depth chart.

Attempts to reach Ellis were unsuccessful.

Gray area. USC men’s basketball coach Darrin Horn brushed off last week’s comments from former forward Chad Gray, who was upset Horn characterized Gray’s dismissal as stemming from “repeated violations” of team rules.

Gray maintained his departure was the result of his failure to comply with “minor things,” for which he had excuses.

“I think it’s unfortunate that Chad is still unaware of exactly what was going on. This is the second staff that he’s experienced some of those issues,” Horn said. “From what I was told, he did admit that every single thing that we discussed and the things that we laid out were not met. We hope he’ll do well.”

Busy guy. Mark Richt was wearing his only remaining clean shirt Tuesday following a whirlwind, two weeks that took the Georgia coach to Honduras, the Middle East and the White House.

Richt’s odyssey started with a mission trip to Honduras, where he was accompanied by 24 of his players. Richt then joined Auburn’s Tommy Tuberville, Notre Dame’s Charlie Weis and Miami’s Randy Shannon on a tour of U.S. armed forces bases in the Middle East.

The tour’s last stop was a Memorial Day visit to the Oval Office, where President Bush asked Richt about Bulldogs quarterback Matthew Stafford.

“He asked how we got that young man out of Highland Park High School in Dallas,” Richt said. “He’s definitely a big Texas fan, the state of Texas.”

Reach Person at (803) 771-8496.

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