Last week former Enterprise linebacker Robert Ellis officially accepted an invitation to walk-on to the football team at the University of Alabama.
Ellis was a standout linebacker for the Wildcats and earned Elite 11 honors as a senior after totaling 54 tackles, 11 tackles-for-loss, 3.5 sacks, six quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.
Enterprise coach Rick Darlington originally put Ellis in touch with Alabama recruiters and the slow process of receiving a walk-on invite was further slowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The process was very long. I first came into contact with (Alabama safeties coach Charles) Kelly back in April, which was given to me from Coach (Darlington) and then led to me coming into contact with (Alabama Director of Player Personnel Bob) Welton who is a recruiter,” Ellis said. “Due to the pandemic, it was all pushed back a lot, but I just stayed patient through the whole process, which was also a humbling experience. Once I received the call, it was just a big relief and excitement all at the same time.”
Ellis said it was hard to describe the feeling he got when he was told that Alabama was offering him a spot with the team.
“I was very excited when I first received the word that I was going to be on the team,” Ellis said. “My family was super happy for me and it was just an overall great feeling. Nobody but God could have allowed this to be and also with the help of Coach (Darlington) for getting my name out to the school.”
Ellis said that the Alabama coaches have been helpful throughout the process.
“My first impression of the coaches that I came into contact with was pretty good. If I had any questions they were always there and willing to help me out with getting closer to getting on the team,” Ellis said. “Though I haven’t met my teammates yet, I look forward to getting to know all of them, too.”
Playing at Alabama is a dream come true for the Enterprise native that grew up watching the Crimson Tide on Saturdays.
“Even though I lived in a house divided – and also have a sibling who goes to Auburn – growing up watching college I always rooted for Alabama football,” Ellis emphasized. “Just seeing those guys go out every Saturday and compete was always exciting to see.
“So, now being a part of the team it felt unreal knowing that I get to play for the same team that I grew up watching and also being coached by the best coach in college football. So, it truly is a blessing.”
Ellis said his primary goal in football was helping make his team better but also has much bigger goals outside of the gridiron.
“My goal at ‘Bama is to just be the best me. I want to go out there and do whatever I can to make the team successful for the season and to continue to do that every single day,” Ellis said. “Also, academically I want to get a degree in kinesiology and further my education beyond that.”