The travel time from Vance to Columbia up I-26 is only about an hour, but when you add in the drive to Georgia Military Junior College in Milledgeville, GA, well, it’s taken about two years for DL Jabari Ellis (6-5 285) to make it to the capital city. But make it he has as he announced a commitment to the Gamecocks Tuesday morning in Orangeburg. Ellis chose the Gamecocks over NC State, a decision he firmed up in his mind last week.
“It came down to who I felt most comfortable with,” Ellis said. “I felt like I could have accomplished my goals at both schools, so it really came down to who I felt comfortable with and it was the Gamecocks. They offered me back in February, the first school to offer me. I knew from the start they wanted me, they needed me. Coach Muschamp and Coach Thompson were putting it in me every day, we need you, we need you, we need you. That played a big part, too.”
Ellis played a lot of defensive end in high school, and he made the Shrine Bowl team in 2015. But at Georgia Military he was moved inside and made 14 tackles with 4 tackles for loss last season. He said the Gamecocks also like him as an interior defensive lineman.
“Now I’m more of a technician,” Ellis said. “At Lake Marion, I was sort of a bully, but playing college you’ve got to focus on technique.”
Ellis gives Muschamp 11 commitments for the 2018 class and he’s the second junior college defensive tackle for the class. He has been impressed by what he’s heard and seen from Muschamp over the past few months.
“I’m bought in the system,” he said. “I believe in everything he’s saying. He’s turned their program around. Actually, I wanted to commit to Carolina before I went to (visit) NC State. But after the NC State visit, I was pretty much undecided. Great program. But Carolina, there’s just something special there.”
Miami was the big offer for Ellis out of high school and became his dream school, but he needed more academic work and ended up at GMC. He said the Hurricanes contacted him a couple of weeks ago and wanted him to visit and possibly get an offer but his mind was already set for USC.
Ellis said the Gamecocks want to put another 10-15 pounds on him once he arrives and have him playing at around 300 pounds.
“They showed me a depth chart and told me they need more people at that position,” he said. “They want me as a run stopper. I’m ready to bring that to the defense.”
Ellis comes from an area of the state that’s been strong with Clemson recent years. Most notably, former Tigers receiver Mike Williams, now with the LA Chargers, came from Lake Marion and is close friends with Ellis.
“I was joking with Mike that Carolina is going to beat Clemson,” Ellis said. “I feel like they are making a 360 turn and are really on the uprise. Just like I said before, I’m bought in the system.”
Ellis said he’s on track to graduate from GMC in December and enroll at USC in January.
Jabari Ellis talks about his commitment to USC:
USC 2018 commitments
- 1. DARIUS RUSH WR 6-2 180 CE MURRAY
- 2. LAMARIUS BENSON OL 6-3 320 COVINGTON, GA
- 3. HANK MANOS OL 6-4 275 CHAPIN
- 4. MAXWELL IYAMA OL 6-6 290 MURFREESBORO, TN
- 5. DESHAUN FENWICK RB 6-2 210 BRADENTON, FL
- 6. ERNEST JONES IV LB 6-2 205 WAYCROSS, GA
- 7. WYATT CAMPBELL OL 6-6 285 LUGOFF-ELGIN
- 8. RJ RODERICK DB 6-0 207 CANE BAY
- 9. DAKEREON JOYNER QB 6-1 190 FORT DORCHESTER
- 10. DANTRELL BARKLEY DL 6-3 285 INDEPENDENCE JC, KS
- 11. JABARI ELLIS DL 6-5 285 GEORGIA MILITARY JC
(DE Tyreek Johnson of Lakewood is a carry over from the 2017 class and scheduled to enroll in January)