Round Rock Cedar Ridge wide receiver Jaylen Ellis has been committed to the Baylor Bears for more than a year, but the three-star prospect’s recruitment is far from over. A final decision won't be made until Ellis puts pen to paper on National Signing Day, and in the meantime, numerous prominent programs are aiming to assure the Austin-area pass catcher isn’t headed to Waco in 2019.
“This is going to be something serious and I’m going to have to evaluate this more,” Ellis told Burnt Orange Nation.
With 24 offers in hand, Ellis isn’t short on options, and at this point, in addition the Bears, Michigan, Houston, Texas, Arizona, and Ohio State are the most heavily involved with the speedy receiver, he told Burnt Orange Nation.
“Those are probably the one’s that really stand out for me,” Ellis said. “Those are the schools I’m really looking at, the ones that talk to me day in and day out.”
Of that bunch, Baylor, Michigan, and Arizona are in line for official visits this fall, and the Longhorns are likely in that mix as well, although Ellis said that trip isn’t set in stone just yet.
“I believe I’ll take Texas but I’m not 100 percent sure,” said Ellis.
When he’s talking to Texas, the pitch is, to an extent, different than what Ellis is hearing elsewhere. At 6’0, 180 pounds with no shortage of speed, Ellis is largely being recruited to fill a void in the slot, but that isn’t where Texas envisions him lining up. With juniors Collin Johnson and Lil’Jordan Humphrey entering the 2018 campaign as NFL candidates, and Texas holding a pair of four-star slot pledges from Jordan Whittington and Jake Smith, the Longhorns are intrigued with Ellis’ upside as a Z receiver.
“You’re tall enough, big enough, fast enough to go over the top,” Ellis said of the Longhorns pitch on him playing outside.
Ellis personally has no preference as to where he lines up at the next level, but he does prefer to add a few pounds to his frame before his college football debut, all while maintaining his elite speed.
“I just want to be able to run a 4.4, but also be 200 pounds and not worry about injuries,” Ellis said. “And footwork. I have the speed, coaches know that, but adding on the footwork would be something lethal.”
The latter is already coming to fruition.
Ellis has spent a considerable amount of time this offseason training with Austin-area sports performance coach Chux Nwabuko II, whom Ellis credited for the strides he’s made with his footwork. The most notable step forward, Ellis said, is rather than relying on his pure speed alone as he did in 2017 to the tune of 1,248 yards and 14 touchdowns, he’s now able to beat defenders off the line of scrimmage with footwork; something he said will be a game-changer in college.
“It’s just going to change the game. Me, I can just go over the top and beat you, but in college these dudes are going to be just as fast, running these 10.4 and 10.5 [100-yard times],” Ellis said. “But my footwork, if I can break down faster than them and get that ball then we’ll be straight.”