Royal occasion as Hernando’s Ellis inks with Warner University

Brad Ellis
2017 Hernando High graduate Brad Ellis is flanked by his parents Elizabeth and James Ellis as he signed a letter of intent to play football for NAIA’s Warner University in Lake Wales. Photo provided
FOOTBALL

6-foot, 225-pound

linebacker heads

to NAIA campus

BY TONY CASTRO

HernandoSport.com

If high school sports were in Technicolor, recent Hernando High graduate Brad Raymond Ellis could be sketched in black and white.

Ellis, 19, has grown up around two past times – football and baseball.Warner University Royals

After earning seven letters playing both sports on the Bell Avenue campus in Brooksville, Ellis recently inked a letter of intent to play collegiate football at NAIA Warner University in Lake Wales.

Ellis 411

Brad Ellis
Brad Ellis

Brad was born in West Palm Beach as the middle of thee children to James and Elizabeth Ellis.

The Ellis’s have called Brooksville home for the past 15 years after relocating from Palm Beach County.

Brad recalls his first organized sport as Hernando Youth League T-Ball at 5 years old.

He alternated between third base, catcher and pitcher for the next decade.

When he wasn’t playing baseball, he was alternating between center and nose guard in HYL Football. He played for five seasons.

Once he enrolled at Parrott Middle School, Ellis stuck with football. As a sixth-grader, he lined up at linebacker.

As a seventh- and eighth-grader he not only toted the rock as a running back, but also played linebacker.

After he matriculated to HHS, Ellis was a rare freshman starter at running back.

He switched to defense as a sophomore and finished as the team’s leading tackler with 90 total tackles.

As a junior, he injured his shoulder at a football camp just prior to the August practice at Stetson University and sat out the entire season.

He returned to full strength as a senior, starting at linebacker and finishing second on the team in tackles with 61.

In football, he was named twice by the area coaches and HernandoSport.com to the All-Hernando County team as a punter in 2014 and last season at linebacker.

Bill Vonada
Bill Vonada

HHS’ fourth-year mentor Bill Vonada did not minimize Ellis’ importance once he stepped between the lines.

“Was an impact player … He’s a collision hitter, who worked exceptionally well between the tackles,” noted Vonada. “Was one of our better athletes … I’m glad to see how he’s progressed … Grasped more and more of the game as time went on. Was an integral part of our defense and will be sorely missed.”

Besides his commitment to football, Ellis also remained true to baseball.

Playing in a variety of positions, he collected 43 hits in 187 at-bats for a .230 career batting average across 80 games in four seasons.

Brad Ellis
Brad Ellis

Defensive mentality

Brad Ellis
Brad Ellis

Ellis, who stalks enemy ball carriers behind his stocky 6-foot, 225 pound frame, disdains anyone with football in a different colored jersey.

“I’m a defensive guy,” offered Ellis. “I love killing people. You can be a lot more aggressive on defense than offense.”

On what stands out across his gridiron prep career as the Leopards posted a collective 13-25 mark over the past four years, “I was a three-year starter,” pointed out Ellis. “I remember playing Bolles. They were a lot better competition.”

“The relationships with the guys over the last four years is what I’ll miss the most,” added Ellis.

Ray Lewis
Ray Lewis

Ellis named former University of Miami standout and Baltimore Ravens All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis as his gold standard.

“He’s the guy I wanted to be like,” expressed Ellis. “He was a monster on the field.”

As far as a letter grade, Ellis believed he earned “B” in his gridiron efforts with the Leopards.

“I’d give myself a “B” because I know I could’ve done better,” he said. “I really enjoyed my senior year. Not playing at all as a junior was tough. The hardest part is wanting to play, but being allowed.”

Choosing the next step

Ellis more than held his own in the classroom, too, maintaining a 2.9 unweighted and 3.0 weighted grade point average.

His favorites course was economics.

He’d like to study sports medicine and is perhaps eyeing a future as an athletic trainer.

Warner University Royals
Warner University Royals

The brown-tressed and green-eyed Ellis whittled his choices for college to Warner University, Webber International University in Babson Park and a small school in Ohio.

After visiting both Florida campuses, “The coaches at Warner were nice; they were welcoming. They made feel like I was a part of the team,” recalled Ellis.

“I also met a lot of the football players. I watched them work out; their work ethic stood out. The facilities were clean and modern.”

On the Royals’ sales pitch, “They recruited me at linebacker. That’s what they needed. They made no promises,” said Ellis. “They said I would have to show my talent to have an opportunity to start.”

“…My academics always come first,” added Ellis on his decision to ink with Warner. “As a solid student, I’ll bring a good attitude. I’m ready to play hard and aggressive and show the coaches why they recruited me.”

With the campus being less than three hours away, “It’s great because the proximity will allow my parents to come up and see me play,” offered Ellis.

“I ain’t ready to leave just yet,” explained Ellis. “I’ll be homesick, but I’ve been looking forward to an all new experience.”

Looking ahead

Ellis reports to the Polk County campus on Aug. 4.

In prepping for the next level, “I really didn’t watch a lot of film in high school. It was available. I was more of a reactionary player,” emphasized Ellis. “Watching film will be much more important at the next level.”

Before heading off to Warner, Brad will be working Monday through Fridays with his father.

Afterwards, he’ll dial up his workout plans to stay in peak shape, typically lifting three times a week at Fitness Live in Brooksville.

Before setting off to college, “I’d like to be remembered as a leader for the guys on the team and in school,” offered Ellis.

By the Numbers: Hernando’s Brad Ellis (2013-16)

– Compiled by TONY CASTRO

Brad Ellis
Brad Ellis
 

YEAR

 

SOL

 

AST

 

TTK

 

TBL

 

SK

 

QBP

 

CF

 

FR

 

PB

 

BK

 

INT

2013

2

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2014

33

57

90

5.0

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

2016

38

23

61

17.0

4.0

0

3

0

0

0

0

 

TOT

 

73

 

80

 

153

 

22.0

 

4.0

 

0

 

3

 

2

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

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