When Texas A&M offered College Station A&M Consolidated DT Joshua Ellison a couple of weeks ago, it seemed like there was a good chance he'd become the first hometown player to join the Aggies since 2014. On Wednesday, he made it happen.
Ellison had just started to emerge on the recruiting scene, picking up offers from Tennessee and Baylor, but decided he had the one he wanted and shut things down. In the process, he becomes the fifth member of the 2019 recruiting class and the first defensive lineman to commit.
It's not very often that you look at a player who is 6-foot-3, more than 280 pounds and the first thing that comes to mind is his vision and football IQ. But that's the case with Ellison, who really impressed me with his ability to read plays and properly react to them. When you're getting frequently double-teamed, staying home and following the ball is not the easiest of things to do. Ellison does it nicely.
If you watch his first few highlights, you'll see what I mean. Opponents run a play with a lot of motion in an effort to get the defensive line to slant one direction, then run the ball back the other way. Ellison immediately sees the ball, diagnoses the play and stops it for a tackle for loss. On another play, he properly reads a counter, pushes his way through the line and gets to the ball carrier. I like the fact that even when he's not getting a good push, he's brain is still engaged and he's ready to jump up in the air and bat a pass down. That's both smart and instinctive.
Of course, intelligence alone doesn't make you an SEC lineman. You need plenty of strength, too, and Ellison certainly seems to have that. He shoves around tackles and pushes his way through double teams, then uses his quickness to run down the quarterback from behind. Again, another high football IQ move -- as he wraps up with one arm, he swipes at the ball with the other in an effort to force a fumble, but can still get both hands around the passer to stop him if he misses.
Ellison definitely looks like he's underrated as a 5.7 3-star, but it'll be interesting to see if he moves up much if he shuts things down now and remains under the radar. In any case, the Aggies wanted him and now they have him.
Where he fits in 2019
The Aggies will probably take at least one other tackle in this class as they'll lose both Daylon Mack and Kingsley Keke after this season. They'll have a younger tackle corps in 2019, but they should have a good bit of talent. Jayden Peevy, who will be a junior, will probably anchor the line with fellow junior Justin Madubuike. After that, JUCO transfer Mohamed Diallo, TD Moton and Josh Rogers will likely figure into the mix. If the Aggies decide to play Bobby Brown inside, he definitely will as well. That would leave Ellison on the redshirt bubble, which is probably exactly what the Aggies would like to do with interior linemen. Get them a year of strength and conditioning, then turn them loose. But Ellison could well make it interesting and make a run at the rotation of Moton and Rogers don't step it up.