Hometown (School): Suwanee, GA (Peachtree Ridge)
Height/Weight: 5'10" 188 lbs
Committed to Virginia: 06/07/13
Lead Recruiter: Vincent Brown
With just 2 scholarship TBs on the roster after this season, RB was a need position for the Hoos. Enter Jordan Ellis. Ellis is rated a 3 star RB by ESPN and Rivals and 2 stars by Scout. While his offer list isn't all that impressive (Miami of OH and Western Kentucky), he was getting interest from ACC, SEC and Big 10 schools.
Ellis is a bit undersized, which explains the lack of interest. The big programs in the Southeast want big, fast RBs. Ellis isn't very big and doesn't really have game breaking speed. But he's a good all-around back who plays bigger than his small stature. He's quick in space and can make people miss. This is generally more important for RBs than pure speed. While he's small, he has strong legs and can be difficult to bring down with arm tackles. Ellis is a little bit bigger than Kevin Parks was when Parks enrolled, and he has a similar running style.
Here is Ellis' senior year highlight film:
The main thing you'll notice in the video is that almost all of Ellis' big runs come between the tackles. He isn't the type of back who always tries to break everything outside for big gains. He runs through arm tackles and into the secondary almost with ease on play after play. Once he gets into the secondary, he is able to cut without losing any speed and has enough speed to outrun most high school defenders. His speed may not translate to 70+ yard runs in college, but his ability to get past the initial line of defenders will translate very well.
Ellis may not be as dynamic a runner as Parks was, but he's a more advanced as a pass receiver. Ellis runs solid routes, catches the ball well and is even pretty advanced as a pass blocker. Most of what we see in the video in terms of pass catching is swing passes and screens. He does a good job on screens of allowing his blockers to make their blocks and then running behind those blocks. That takes patience. And patience is one of Ellis' biggest strengths. He also possesses very good vision, which you can see in the video as he cuts away from defenders in his path.
Ellis will almost definitely be afforded a redshirt year, because there simply aren't enough carries for him after Kevin Parks, Khalek Shepherd, Kye Morgan, Daniel Hamm and LaChaston Smith all get their touches. The redshirt will give him a chance to pick up some of the nuances of playing RB at this level (reading blitzes, etc) as well as getting stronger and hopefully faster. Ellis will be in line for significant carries in 2015 as a primary backup to Smoke.