Thursday, May 11, 2017

Playing away from home for first time, Arkansas’ Brooks Ellis could stick with Patriots

Arkansas linebacker Brooks Ellis, right, will play for a football team outside his hometown for the first time as he tries to make the New England Patriots as a rookie free agent.

By Hector Longo
May 11, 2017

The New England Patriots, despite the rumors, have not added fried catfish to the players’ daily menu.

They only do things like that for high draft picks. Sorry rookie free-agent Brooks Ellis, you’re on your own. In Foxborough, Mass., for about two weeks, the native of Fayetteville, Ark., must be in need of home cooking.

A 6-foot-2, 245-pound linebacker, Ellis had a strong career at Fayetteville High School, which included a pair of state titles. He eschewed chances to move out on his own and stayed in town to play at the University of Arkansas. Sure, there were road trips and bowl games and even an excursion to Central America with his fellow biology students. But, Ellis always returned to Fayetteville, that is until now.

Ellis went on to play 49 games with 41 starts for the Razorbacks. He won the SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year Award this past December.

A traditional inside linebacker who relies more on savvy and his cerebral nature than his average athleticism, Ellis has a shot to land a job. Look at the prospects around him on the depth chart. Dont’a Hightower is a legit NFL player. After that, it’s Elandon Roberts, Shea McClellin and Kyle Van Noy, not exactly a string of Pro Bowl players.

His intelligence has to be considered an asset. Ellis will be given a chance to play because Belichick believes in his high-level, SEC production.

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