Run Defense: Looks like a run-stuffer and can play that 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 doubles to grab ballcarriers coming through the hole or force them into the arms of linebackers. Owns fairly nimble feet to jump over fallen blockers but is susceptible to the cut block because of his height and has difficulty regaining his balance. Runs past ballcarriers because he fails to break down quickly.
Explosion: Excellent upper-body build and girth for great strength off the snap to unload in his man's numbers. Not just a mammoth run-stopper, he lines up at the one- and three-technique positions to be explosive as a pass rusher. Won't get a lot of NFL linemen with his first step but it is quick enough to pressure the pocket when lined up with his ears pinned back coming for the quarterback. Quick hands to swim over linemen lunging toward him.
Strength: Man among boys at the FCS level with his size and strength. Anchors against double teams, not moved backward easily. Rips off single blocks with strong hands and downward motion, though he will stand around if not rested. Holds off linemen with one shoulder when slanting, still able to spin in the opposite direction to make tackles. Will have more difficulty maintaining leverage against NFL interior linemen, needs to drop 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 for his size due to quick feet, but he struggles to stay low and break down in space. Has some upfield burst can work against him if he runs by quarterbacks and running backs in the backfield because he cannot stop his forward momentum.
Intangibles: Dismissal from South Carolina for multiple rules violations is a major red flag, but there have been no reports of problems since he arrived at Hampton. On-field effort is not an issue."
First, the defensive lineman is 6-feet-5-inches tall and 340 pounds (although there is a discrepancy according to Hampton’s official site), ideal size for a two gap defender.
Second is Ellis’ penchant for hustling every single down he is on the field, a rarity for a talent of his girth. The interior defender makes numerous plays down the line of scrimmage and from the opposite side of the field by scraping and taking angles properly while not giving up on plays.
Statistically, Ellis jumps off the page as well. How many defensive linemen lead their conference in tackles per game? Hampton’s defensive focal point does just that averaging over 10 tackles per game entering this past weekend’s contest against South Carolina State.
As one watches his play closely, the South Carolina transfer lacks polish.
Everything starts with the stance. Ellis does not start with a good base as his footwork is often spread too far apart. Heal-to-toe is the rule of thumb, but Ellis does not always abide, particularly seen in his first half of play. As a result he does not fire off the ball with the same type of coiled explosion seen from other contemporaries.
The second half, a difference was seen. Coming out of the intermission, a coach must have lit a fire in his belly and corrected some of Ellis’ issues. His footwork improved, and he became harder to handle off the snap. A permanent correction is required for Ellis to play to his fullest.
Two other issues were presented.
Ellis does not have violent hands, a requirement for those playing nose tackle. This may push him outside to defensive end in the 34 since he does not deliver a strong blow off the snap nor controls even FCS offensive lineman.
Also the defender is not a fluid athlete. He plods as he runs and does not appear to posses much flexibility in his hips and knees. As a result, how many times has one watched a 340 pound man get pushed around and knocked over by inferior talent? Ellis was found on the ground after a few plays.
Ellis has a lot of potential, but he is raw."
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