COLUMBIA — South Carolina’s Bruce Ellington is back to being a two-sport athlete after returning to football practice Tuesday, the day the Gamecocks hired Frank Martin as their new basketball coach.
Football coach Steve Spurrier welcomed the return of the speedy, 5-foot-9 receiver to the practice field, two weeks after Ellington declared he would concentrate solely on basketball.
“He realizes he’s pretty good at football and wants to play both,” Spurrier said.
Ellington, a former state championship quarterback, joined the football team after his freshman season playing basketball. He said then that he missed football and thought he could handle the load of both sports the way he did in high school.
Ellington did not disappoint in either sport. He finished with 707 all-purpose yards and made the Southeastern Conference all-freshman team in South Carolina’s 11-2 season.
A few days later, Ellington was back on the basketball court where after a slow start he became South Carolina’s second-leading scorer with 11 points per game.
Ellington announced just before the start of spring ball that he was done with football because he thought his future was in basketball. The next day, basketball coach Darrin Horn was let go.
Spurrier counseled his player to take a few more days and make sure he knew what he wanted to do.
“He thought it over and thought he made a little too quick a decision,” Spurrier said.
Ellington was not made available to talk to the media.