Donovan Rose couldn't be more thrilled to see Kenrick Ellis get snatched up by the Jets in the third round of the NFL Draft Friday night, given the felony charges that are hovering over the defensive tackle out of Hampton.
"I’m very excited because I know Kenrick has gone through a lot, and we had the pleasure of getting him as a sophomore," Rose, Hampton's head football coach, told me today. "So you kind of watch him – when I say grow, literally grow – because he’s 6-5 and 345. He’s been a gentle giant off the field, and on the field he’s been a wrecking crew. You watched him just develop in his latter years, in his junior and senior years.
"Obviously, he got a lot of attention from folks and he’s a guy that is going to demand a double team and sometimes three, and he makes a difference on the field. And I think for our younger guys, he’s a leader because he’s a guy who’s a student of the game, and I think he’s going to grow -- literally. I think the Jets will like what they’ve got. I think they got a bargain.
"They got a bargain getting him in the third round."
Part of the reason Ellis, whom the Jets say they had rated as the 36th best player on their board, was available in the third round is because of a bit of a checkered past. He was thrown off the team at South Carolina following his freshman season in 2007 for violating unspeficfied team rules, and enrolled at Hampton in 2008.
He's currently facing an assault charge and a July 12 trial date, which might've scared more than a few teams off. But Rose said Ellis wasn't totally at fault for the incident and made it clear that he wasn't a problem child during his three seasons at Hampton.
"I don’t know what transpired when he was at South Carolina as far as everything," said Rose, whose been Hampton's head coach since 2009 and is entering his 21st season as a member of the staff. "But when he was here, he had one incident and other than that, Kenrick was a model guy. He did what was asked of him. He was accountable, you could depend on him, he’s going to be on time, and he’s going to be a good leader for us.
"So I was glad that he was able to get a team that has the confidence in his ability, and I think that's what the Jets have shown by taking him in the third."