Ellington ready to return, so excited he can't sleep

by - Senior Writer -
Ellington's 60-yard touchdown run last year against North Texas.

CLEMSON – Andre EllingtonAndre Ellington
RS Jr. Running Back
#23 5-10, 190
Moncks Corner, SC

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remembers his first carry of 2010 like it was yesterday, yet it als seems like it happened ages ago for Clemson’s starting running back.

The Tigers took the opening kickoff of the season against North Texas in the 2010 season opener, and Kyle ParkerKyle Parker
RS So. Quarterback
#11 6-1, 200
Jacksonville, FL

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threw an incomplete pass on the first play from scrimmage. On the second play, Ellington burst through a hole on the right side and cut back into the middle of the field for a 60-yard touchdown.

Now, he hopes for a repeat in Saturday’s opener against Troy, and he said he will enjoy every minute of the game after being sidelined at the end of last year with a toe injury.

“Last year not playing football, it was a setback, but it gave me an opportunity to realize how much this game means to me,” Ellington said after Tuesday’s practice. “I can't really take anything for granted. This year I've got a different approach.

“It's tough not being out there and not playing with my friends. It's tough. But I had to overcome that. I'm glad I'm out there with them now. I'm not with the guys who were here last year, but I've got new teammates and I'm going to make the best of it. The future is now. We're all looking at a brand new season.”

That brand new season brings a new level of excitement for a player who thought the game might be taken away from him.

“I don't think I can be [more excited about the opener]. I've had trouble sleeping this week. I can't wait until Saturday gets here. I've got a few days to prepare myself for Saturday.”

Ellington was asked if he has any apprehension about taking a hit, and he said that his defensive teammates have done a good job of getting him prepared.

And he has also gotten in better shape.

“Not at all. The guys in practice do a pretty good job of setting me up,” he said. “They're smart about it, but they've given me good licks. I'm already used to it. I've gotten a whole lot better [in shape] than I was my first week of camp. I struggled a little bit in processing the plays and the tempo. Now that I've gotten used to it, I can react better in certain situations.”

He said that he wants to be successful not only because it would mean his team is successful, but because he knows he has some young running backs playing behind him who are looking to him for leadership.

“I feel like those guys look up to me,” he said. “I've already been here and accomplished some things. Being young, they look up to me. I want to do a great job and I want to challenge them to do a great job. I feel like if I say something, they'll respect it.”

Ellington said he clearly remembers the run against North Texas, and he wouldn’t mind a repeat on Saturday.

“I do remember that. And I just want to accelerate, hit the hole and score.”

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