You may not think you know Todd Ellis, but you almost certainly know his voice.
This football season marks the beginning of Ellis’ 15th year as the voice of Gamecock football on the school’s flagship radio station.
Ellis knows the team well. A 1989 graduate of the University of South Carolina, Ellis was a standout quarterback for the Gamecocks. He was co-captain in 1989 and finished his career with 26 school records, including NCAA records for most passing yards, most completions, and highest completion percentage for a freshman. Ellis threw for 9,956 yards in his career, led Carolina to the Gator and Liberty bowls and – until Connor Shaw broke his record in 2013 – was South Carolina’s all-time winningest quarterback.
He was drafted by the NFL’s Denver Broncos and played with the World League of American Football before entering law school at USC, receiving his degree in 1995. Today he has his own law practice, The Law Office of Todd Ellis, P.A.
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In 1997, the Southeastern Conference and the University of South Carolina named Ellis an SEC Legend. In 2003, Ellis was named the University of South Carolina outstanding young alumni, and he was inducted into USC’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005. He lives with his wife, Cissy; daughter, Logan; and twin sons, Blake and Graham, in Columbia.
For breakfast and lunch, Just Us Café in West Columbia is a hidden gem. The food is hot, the prices are excellent, and it has vibe that makes you feel right at home. Longtime Columbia staples the Gourmet Shop and DiPrato’s can’t be beat for lunch. As for dinner, I can’t begin to name all of our favorite spots. We love to walk around the Vista and stop to eat, drink and enjoy the atmosphere at night. Cola’s is my go-to, with their consistent and excellent food and great bar. Our post-game routine during football season is often to head to Cola’s to sit at the bar, watch another game or highlights and enjoy a meal. Since I live in Irmo, we also love to frequent restaurants on Harbison Boulevard. My new favorite is Tao, a sushi and hibachi restaurant with a funky vibe, where the staff goes the extra mile for you. I have known much of the staff at Bonefish and Carrabba’s for more than a decade, and we love their service and the regulars we see. Alodia’s is the jewel of the Irmo and Ballentine area with its incredible food that draws folks from around the lake and Columbia.
There are too many good spots for a craft beer or cocktail to name them all. We very much like Bourbon on Main Street for drinks and a meal with friends or clients. We also love to meet our daughter for a glass of wine at Lula Drake. Chips and a beer at Cantina on Main Street is a favorite, and people-watching with a cocktail at Liberty on the Lake is a great place for relaxing.
Any activity that surrounds a Carolina athletic event is good with me. There is nothing better than having a meal or drink with friends or family before a baseball game at Founders Park or a basketball game at Colonial Life Arena. The city and university have done a tremendous job developing around the venues to support the community and work with visitors to Carolina athletic events. I am a big movie buff, so we love to go to see movies at Columbiana Grande on Bower Parkway and enjoy going to the Nickelodeon Theater on Main Street for the atmosphere and eclectic showings.
I have been lucky enough to hear great performers play at the Colonial Life Arena over the years, and I love getting to see my favorite artists live. I also like to attend the St. Patrick’s Day festival in Five Points and listen to its consistently great lineup. I went to see Ron White at the Township recently, and the upgrades have made it an outstanding venue.
Running the Lake Murray dam in the mornings and hanging out on the lake during the summer is an absolute stress reliever for me. There are some great stops for drinks, recreating and food on the lake that would take several summers to fully explore. A trip through our world-class zoo is required viewing for this town. The Lights before Christmas is an Ellis family tradition. When I travel, people ask me about Gamecock athletics, the “2001” entrance for the football team and Riverbanks Zoo.