49ers’ Rookie WR Bruce Ellington believes basketball helped his game



Did you have much contact with the 49ers leading up to this?

“I talked to them at the Combine, but not much after that.”

What have they told you about how you can fit in here?

“They just told me to come in and be ready to compete. I think I’m going to be ready to do that. I love to compete. So, I’m just going to come in and do what they ask me to do and play hard and just come in ready to work.”

The Republic

The Republic

What do you think of the guys you’re going to be surrounded with? Obviously WR Michael Crabtree, WR Anquan Boldin, they just picked up WR Stevie Johnson, WR Brandon Lloyd’s here, WR Quinton Patton. What do you know about those guys?

“They’re just going to help me get better because I know those guys can play, and I’m just going to learn from them. Learn the playbook, get with them and let them teach me some things, watch what they do and just become a better player by watching them.”

How much experience do you have returning punts?

“I have a little bit of experience doing it. I did it in college. I did it a little bit in high school. So, I’m going to be comfortable doing it. I’m ready to come in and do whatever the coaches ask me to do, kick return, punt return, kickoff, punt, whatever it is I’m going to be ready to do.”

Just looking at the stats, it looked like you’d only returned three punts in your college career. Is that accurate?

“Yes, sir. That’s accurate. [South Carolina WR] Ace Sanders, he was our punt returner when I was playing there. So, you know how he is at that punt returner. He’s real good at it. So, I was a backup.”

Are you comfortable handling punts?

“Yes, sir.”

Getty Images

Getty Images

At what point in your college career did you decide, I’m going to be a football player and not a basketball player? And was that difficult for you? Was basketball your first love in terms of sports?

“I feel it was pretty difficult because I just love to compete and I love playing both sports. Leaving one is different, but I think that football is what I want to do. It’s what I feel that comfortable doing. And I’d say about my second year coming in playing football, I finally realized that football is what I wanted to do. So, I took advantage of it and think I did pretty good.”

Sports Talk SC

Sports Talk SC

How does being a point guard help you at receiver?

“It has helped me. You want to compete. You want to be the best player on the court. You want to lead, help lead and just want to be a team player. Because being the point guard, you’ve got to lead everybody that’s around you. So, I think that’s going to help a lot when I get to the NFL.”

What about the vision aspect of it? Is that helpful at playing receiver?

“It helps a lot. I’m a small guy. So, going up against in basketball these 6’9” guys, 6’8” guys, it helps you to see all the people around you talking, the vision part is good playing basketball.”

Did you get a chance to watch a lot of your cousin’s games against the 49ers last year?

“Yes, sir. I got to watch a little bit of it.”

And what were your impressions of the 49ers from what you saw on TV?

“I love the 49ers. They’re a great team. I’m just ready to come in and help build the program even better than what it is now.”

What’s your relationship with RB Marcus Lattimore like?

“It’s good. Marcus is a team player and while I was there, he was kind of one of the guys who came to me and told me to come out and play football, come out and help the team. So, we have a good relationship. It’s going to make it even better when I get up there.”

Norm Hall/Getty Images

Norm Hall/Getty Images

Was CB Chris Culliver there at all? Did you guys cross paths when he was at South Carolina? Or was he gone before you got there?

“He was there my freshman year and I got a chance to work out with him a couple times.”

Did you burn him in practices?

“I actually didn’t get to go against him in practice.”

Because you’ve split your time between two sports, do you feel like you’ve got a lot of growth potential as a football player?

“Yes, sir. I feel like I have a lot of growth. Because I’ve only played for three years, so I feel like there’s a lot more things that I can put in my game and become a better player.”

When you say you only played it for three years, you played in high school though, right?

“I played quarterback in high school. I played quarterback, running back and DB.”

Ryan is the Founder/CEO of NinerFans.com, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at ryan@NinerFans.com or call him at (408) 622-0996.