Senior defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis (West Palm Beach, Fla.) was selected 94th overall, in third round, by the New York Jets Friday night in the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. He is the first Pirates to be selected in the NFL Draft since the Miami Dolphins selected defensive end Kendall Langford in the 4rd round of the 2008 draft.
Langford was the 66th overall pick that season.
The 6-foot-5, 330-pound senior came into his own this past season as part of a nationally-ranked Pirates defense. Ellis was second on the team with 94 tackles (34 solo), while recording 15.0 tackles for loss totaling 37 yards. Ellis recorded a career-high 16 tackles (seven solo) at Howard on Sept. 11 (when he was named MEAC Defensive Player of the Week), before recording 15 stops (two solo) at North Carolina Central on Oct. 9, 2010.
He added 2.0 sacks in 2010, en route to earning First Team All-MEAC honors for the second straight year. But the awards didn’t stop there.
Since the end of the 2010 season, Ellis has been named an FCS All-American by the Associated Press, The Sports Network, Phil Steele, Walter Camp SBN Sports and the College Sporting News. The transfer from South Carolina was also named the BoxToRow.com/BASN HBCU Defensive Player of the Year and the FCS Defensive Tackle of the Year by College Football Performance Awards.
Various draft experts projected Ellis as a third- or fourth-round selection, while a few draft boards had him going late in the second round.
When he came to Hampton in 2008, Ellis made nine starts and recorded 39 tackles. He was fifth on the team with 51 tackles in 2009, earning First Team All-MEAC honors. For his career at Hampton, Ellis totaled 184 tackles.
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