Versatile fullback/tight end open to playing multiple roles.
During his college career at USC, fullback/tight end Rhett Ellison had dreams of one day joining the New York Giants.
And why not? In practice with the Trojans, Ellison used to engage in what he described as some intense battles against linebacker Devon Kennard, who would eventually be drafted by the Giants in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL draft.
GREAT pick up @Giants Rhett is one of best blockers at TE I’ve ever gone against college or pros! We bout to have some battles in camp!
— Devon Kennard (@DevonKennard) March 9, 2017
He also used to study a lot of tape on Bear Pascoe, who was with the Giants from 2009 through 2013. .
“That was kind of what my role was at USC, doing a lot of the dirty work,” Ellison said during a call with the Giants media. “At the time, (USC special teams/assistant head coach) John Baxter was at Fresno State with Pascoe, and had a lot of his film.
“I figured put he was with the Giants so I asked for the film checked it out. He did exactly what I did, so it was one of the few guys I could learn from and watch because there’s not a lot of guys out there that did it at the level he did.”
Before the 2012 draft, Ellison even had a visit with the Giants organization. however, any hopes of playing for the team were dashed when Ellison, a fourth round pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 2012, ended up being selected by the Vikings one spot after the Giants had selected tight end Adrien Robinson.
He joked that he even has the Giants to thank for helping his knee, surgically repaired after suffering a torn patellar tendon in the 2015 regular-season finale, feel as good as it’s ever felt.
“I took a hit on the knee and it blew up on me. Because of the hit, it knocked some scar tissue loose or something and it’s never felt better since that hit, so I have the Giants to thank for my knee feeling better,” he said.
Given all that happened, Ellison couldn’t be happier to be a member of the Giants after signing his four-year. $18 million deal with the Giants Friday.
“I’m here now and I can’t believe it’s actually happening.”
Rhett Ellison decleated Von Miller on a chip block pic.twitter.com/m2wT2hoD60
— The Cauldron (@TheCauldron) October 4, 2015
Among Ellison’s key talents are his lead-blocking abilities. He paved the way for now former Vikings running back Adrian Peterson’s two league-leading rushing seasons in 2012 and 2015, the former being the year in which Peterson ran for 2,097 yards, the second-highest single-season rushing yardage total in NFL history.
Ellison, who has 51 career receptions for 515 yards and three touchdowns in 73 games, is also a core special teams player who will likely contribute in that capacity as well.
“It’s hard,” Ellison said when asked what his best role is. “I guess you can just say H-back because that puts the tight end and fullback all in one thing. So a little bit of everything—fullback, tight end, split out—it’s just knowing the concept and how you fit in.”
Ellison drew interest from a few teams, including Jacksonville, but said that the Giants offered him the most of what he was seeking, including the opportunity to win a Super Bowl, making the decision a “no-brainer” for him.
“I want to be a part of a winning tradition, so that’s what separated the Giants from everyone else. It was an easy and fast decision for me once the Giants came to the table.”