It easily took the prize for the most applause for a three-game player.
Bruce Ellington took part in South Carolina’s Senior Night honors on Tuesday, being recognized for his contributions despite playing basketball for three games this season and then departing for the NFL. Frank Martin had no hesitation about honoring Ellington and neither did the fans, who lustily cheered for the Little Engine That Could who wound up being a standout in two sports.
It’s been a strange ride for Ellington, who willingly gave up football after a state championship season to be the cornerstone for Darrin Horn’s program, than decided to play football for USC after an All-SEC Freshman basketball season. Ellington wrestled between the two sports several times, trying to decide which one he wanted to do most, before deciding to do both for two seasons.
He was going to play basketball for a fourth time after his third year of football, but with degree in hand and knowing that his NFL stock might never be higher, decided to pursue his professional dream. Martin never held that against him, applauding Ellington’s willingness to keep coming around to basketball practices when he didn’t have to.
He might not have had the impact he thought he would on the court, but Ellington’s legacy will last for years. The logo he stood on Tuesday represented Ellington far more than one or two sports.