August 21, 2006

Byron Ellis: Hard Runner

Much has been made of Mell Holliday's 121 rushing yards on 15 carries in the two scrimmages and Hugh Charles is always a hot topic of conversation when it comes to the Buffs' offense.

Byron Ellis, the often overlooked junior running back, has also quietly put together a strong preseason camp. On the most recent depth chart, he is listed at the top along with Charles and Holliday in a three-way tie.

"I'm not looking at the depth chart, I didn't even know about that to be honest with you," said Ellis. "I am just going out here everyday day, working hard. I feel like all of us (running backs) are going to contribute as a community. If Hugh goes down, like he did for a few days during camp, we all have to step up."

Ellis was admittedly frustrated at times during his sophomore season and during spring ball. He averaged 2.9 yards per carry in 2005 and just 2.3 yards per carry during the three spring scrums.

"I was actually down on myself [during spring practices] because I had to learn a lot of stuff quickly and I just couldn't grasp the concept of this offense," Ellis admitted. "But now everything is falling into place and I'm feeling good running the ball. Now, I know the offense like the back of my hand.

"Last year I spent a lot of time watching but with the new coaches, new changes, I just want to get a chance to get out there and contribute in anyway I can. I am one of the bigger running backs that we have and I have good hands. I can see myself being a valuable third down back because I know who to block at the right time and I am also good at getting those tough yards."

Ellis and Charles have been good friends since the two took their official visit to CU during the same weekend back in September of 2003. Ellis committed to the Buffs on his trip and Charles decided on CU just two weeks later. They have been roommates since stepping foot on campus.

"We were buddies from that start, that is my homeboy," Ellis said of his relationship with Charles. "When we get out here, its competition but we are close friends and we don't take anything home. "

A first-team Academic All-Big 12 honoree last year, Ellis is studying integrative physiology. In high school he owned a 4.0 GPA and was the recipient of the Academic Jacket of Excellence Award.

"School is going great, I am just coming off my best semester yet," Ellis said. "I got all A's during summer school. I'm just trying to keep raising my GPA up so I am can get into Medical School. It's all about time management, that's number one. I always keep it balanced. When its football, I'm out here focused on that but when I'm outside of football, I have to hit those books and hit them hard."

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