ORANGEBURG, S.C. – With Jabari Ellis’ commitment to South Carolina, the Gamecocks now have a pair of junior college defensive tackles on board for 2018.
Ellis, a 2016 graduate of Lake Marion High School (Santee, S.C.), announced his pledge to coach Will Muschamp on July 4.
Now enrolled at Georgia Military College, Ellis spoke with reporters after revealing his decision in the newsroom of The Times and Democrat. Below are his thoughts on why South Carolina beat North Carolina State for his commitment.
How did you make the decision and what was it about South Carolina that put them over the top?
“Both schools are great programs. I feel like I could have accomplished my goals at both schools – I was comfortable with (both). At Carolina, I just felt the love there. I felt in my heart that’s where I wanted to play.”
What do you like about the opportunity to play for coach Muschamp, a defensive-minded coach, and coach (Lance) Thompson as well?
“Both are great coaches. The program is definitely on the rise. I feel like they’re turning it around. It’s a great opportunity (in) the SEC. You play against the best competition. If I come in, I feel like I can accomplish all my goals.”
How do they see you fitting in?
“They want me to play inside, defensive tackle. They’ve got one guy, basically, that’s committed there now. They told me, if I come in, take care of my business on and off the field, there’s a possibility I can start.”
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What do you like about their defense?
“Being (with) coach Muschamp, a defensive-minded coach, their mindset is relentless. As a defensive player, you like that. I just feel like, their system, I can really just come in and make the most of it.”
How did the relationships with the coaches play in?
“(Muschamp) offered me back in February. Actually, it was a couple of days before my birthday. Coach Muschamp is actually — he messaged me every day. That’s actually the first time I’ve seen that from a head coach, so he always was telling me how much he needs me, needs me, needs me. Coach Thompson, again, great guy. We probably talked like every day. … I knew the love was there, so that’s basically how I made my decision.”
Was staying close to home another big factor for you?
“It definitely was a big factor. It’s kind of something you don’t really want to look at, you want to look at the best opportunity for you, but it played a part. It played a part as well.”