Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)
Coming into fall practice in 2017 the Indiana Hoosiers had some major questions to answer at the running back position. Camion Patrick was supposed to take over the number one running back duties, but his career was cut short after being granted a medical hardship waiver because he never fully recovered from a knee injury suffered in the spring of 2016. Heading into media day the running back position was wide open and the players competing for playing time each came with their own pros and cons and none of them carried the ball more than 61 times in 2016. So who would step in that workhorse role?
As fall practices started to gain steam one running back began to stick out, at first because of his size, then with his play. No, I am not talking about Tyler Natee, who has had a solid fall camp thus far, instead it’s freshman Morgan Ellison who has begun to turn heads on the field.
New offensive coordinator Mike DeBord likes what he sees from the Ohio native telling reporters on Friday “we see a guy that has the ability to make quick up cuts and get the ball up the field whenever the defense stretches, we’ve seen that. He also does a really good job of leveling off, shoulder pads are down, he levels off that way.” Head coach Tom Allen has taken notice as well saying Ellison has great vision and “earned the right to be with the ones which is a testament to him.”
The Hoosiers landed Ellison on Nation Signing Day as part of the 2017 recruiting class and his road to Bloomington was filled with promise and heartbreak. Ellison missed most of his sophomore season in high school as he broke his left leg. After rehabbing and getting back for the season opener his junior season he would break his left leg and miss the entire year. Most players would never recover from those injuries and major schools backed off as he tried to come back for his senior season. Ellison, and this is a testament to his work ethic and mental toughness came back for his senior year and put on a show. He was named Offensive MVP for Pickerington Central after rushing for 1,841 yards and 29 touchdowns. His team went 13-2 and made a run to the state semi-finals. Allen loves what he sees saying Ellison has “great vision. Has more of a burst than we might’ve thought. I think he’s really worked hard since his senior year to get stronger and his body looks like a Big Ten running back.”
At six-foot-one and 225 pounds, Ellison has the look of the workhorse and the ability to set the edge the Hoosiers need to breakthrough in 2017. However, Ellison is still a freshman and freshman suffer from the ups and downs of college football as Allen said “I didn’t think he’d done as well as he had done for several days,” but the Hoosiers have a young man who is going to be really good if Ellison is “able to maintain that and stay at that high level with maturity once that kicks in.”