Kenrick Ellis
Ellis signing autographs in the locker room of MetLife Stadium in 2013
No. --     
Defensive tackle
Personal information
Date of birth: (1987-12-10) December 10, 1987 (age 32)
Place of birth: Jamaica
Career information
College: Hampton
NFL Draft: 2011 / Round: 3 / Pick: 94
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
*New York Jets ( 2011 2014)
Career highlights and awards
; College
  • First-team All-MEAC (2009)
  • Second-team All-MEAC (2008)
Total tackles     58
Sacks     1.0
Forced fumbles     0
Fumble recoveries     0
Stats at

Kenrick Ellis (born December 10, 1987) is a Jamaican American football defensive tackle who is currently a free agent. He was drafted by the New York Jets in the third round, 94th overall of the 2011 NFL Draft. He played college football at the University of South Carolina and Hampton University.

High school career[edit | edit source]

After spending the first eleven years of his life in Jamaica, Ellis played mostly soccer until he got near high school. He attended John I. Leonard High School in Greenacres, Florida, where he became an All-State defensive tackle and was teammates with Markus White. In his junior year, he had 72 tackles, 16 for loss, and 14 quarterback sacks, while earning Class 6A third-team all-state honors, according to the Florida Sports Writers Association. As a senior, he made 67 tackles, 10 sacks and blocked two kicks despite having the season cut to only eight games as a result of hurricanes. Recruiting analysts of described Ellis as Miami metropolitan area's best defensive tackle prospect since Vince Wilfork.[1] Ellis also starred in track & field at John Leonard; at the 2006 Park Vista Invitational, he won the shot put event with a personal-best throw of 14.66 meters (48'1").[2]

Considered a four-star recruit by, Ellis was tabbed as the No. 12 defensive tackle in the country.[3] He was also recognized as the No. 23 player in the state of Florida.[4] After official visits to Rutgers, Tennessee and South Carolina, Ellis committed to the Gamecocks on January 30, 2006. He also received scholarship offers from Michigan, Michigan State, and North Carolina State.

College career[edit | edit source]

South Carolina[edit | edit source]

Before attending college, Kenrick worked at Skyking fireworks in Florida. After redshirting his initial year at South Carolina, Ellis played in 11 of 12 games for the Gamecocks in 2007, and earned a start in the season finale against Clemson. He recorded 11 tackles overall, including 10 solo stops, and three of those for a loss of yardage. Most of his work came on special teams until the final three games of the season, in which he logged nine of his tackles.

Ellis figured to play a more prominent role in the rotation in 2008, as he entered the spring listed as the number two tackle behind senior Marque Hall. However, he was dismissed from the team for repeated violations of team and university policy in May 2008.[5] He had already been suspended for the fall's first three games for violating the same university unspecified policy in February 2008.[6]

Ellis chose to transfer to Hampton University.

Hampton[edit | edit source]

In his first year at Hampton, he played in 11 games for the Pirates while starting in nine. He recorded 39 tackles on the season, including 16 solo tackles, and ranked second on the team with 3.5 sacks. He subsequently earned second-team All-MEAC honors as voted on by the league's head coaches and sports information directors.[7]

As a junior, Ellis was fifth on the team with 51 tackles, and also ranked second on the team with 15.0 tackles for loss on the season. He received first-team All-MEAC honors by the league's coaches.

Professional career[edit | edit source]

Pre-draft[edit | edit source]

Pre-draft measureables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP Wonderlic
6 ft 4⅞ in 346 lb 5.27 s 1.85 s 3.07 s 4.88 s 7.84 s 32 in 8 ft 6 in 26 rep

A two-time All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference performer, Ellis was considered one of the best defensive tackle prospects to enter the 2011 NFL Draft.[10] Ellis was ranked by ESPN as the fourth top small-school prospect in the draft.[11]

New York Jets[edit | edit source]

Ellis was drafted by the New York Jets in the third round with the ninety-fourth overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft.[12][13] He made his professional debut on October 17, 2011 against the Miami Dolphins.[14] He made his first career start six days later against the San Diego Chargers.[14]

New York Giants[edit | edit source]

On March 18, 2015, Ellis signed a one-year deal with the New York Giants.[15] He was released by the Giants on September 5, 2015, to make room on the roster for Louis Nix.[16] On September 22, 2015, he was re-signed by the team.[17] Preston Parker was released to accommodate this transaction. On October 3, 2015, he was released by the Giants.[18]

Minnesota Vikings[edit | edit source]

On October 21, 2015, Ellis was signed by the Minnesota Vikings to replace Shamar Stephen, who was placed on the IR list after a season-ending toe injury.[19] He ended up playing in 9 regular season games and 1 playoff game for the Vikings and contributed with 8 tackles (2 solo) as part of a defensive line rotation. In week 8, he was credited with a pressure of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. His best game of the year came in the regular season-finale against the Green Bay Packers, in which he posted 3 total tackles.

On September 3, 2016, Ellis was released by the Vikings.[20]

Legal issues[edit | edit source]

In April 2010, while attending Hampton University, Ellis was arrested by University police after allegedly attacking another student, Dennis Eley.[21] Ellis claimed Eley had been harassing his girlfriend and subsequently ran after Ellis with a baseball bat. Ellis faced felony charges and possible deportation to his native Jamaica.[21] A plea agreement was reached on May 17, 2012 and on May 21, 2012, he pleaded guilty to assault and battery, a misdemeanor, and was required to serve 45 days in jail and remain on unsupervised probation for two years.[22][23] Kenrick Ellis was released from jail July 9, 2012, after serving the first portion of his jail sentence and was allowed to participate in a work release program while in jail, giving him the opportunity to work with Hampton football coaches during his incarceration.[24]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Kenrick Ellis Recruiting Profile",,, retrieved February 2, 2010.
  2. [1]
  3. "Defensive tackles 2006",, January 30, 2006,
  4. "Florida top 100 2006",, January 24, 2006,
  5. "USC dismisses Ellis", The Post and Courier, May 28, 2008,
  6. "Early-season suspensions mounting for Gamecocks", The Post and Courier, February 7, 2008,
  7. "Four Pirates Earn First Team All-MEAC Honors in Football", Hampton Athletic Department, December 3, 2008,
  8. "Kenrick Ellis". NFL Draft Scout. Archived from the original on April 30, 2011. Retrieved April 30, 2011.
  9. "Kenrick Ellis". National Football League. Archived from the original on April 30, 2011. Retrieved April 30, 2011.
  10. "2011 DT Draft Prospects". CBS Sports. April 27, 2011. Archived from the original on April 30, 2011. Retrieved April 30, 2011.
  11. Scouts Inc. (February 10, 2011). "Kenrick Ellis has upside and baggage". ESPN. Archived from the original on April 30, 2011. Retrieved April 30, 2011.
  12. "2011 NFL Draft Listing" (in en).
  13. Cimini, Rich (April 30, 2011). "Jets take big gamble on third-round pick". ESPN. Archived from the original on April 30, 2011. Retrieved April 30, 2011.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Cimini, Rich (October 23, 2011). "DeVito is out, Gates is in". ESPN. Archived from the original on May 17, 2012. Retrieved May 17, 2012.
  15. Alper, Josh (March 18, 2015). "Giants Will Sign Kenrick Ellis". Retrieved September 6, 2015.
  16. Kratch, James (September 6, 2015). "Giants cut defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis to make room for Louis Nix". Retrieved September 6, 2015.
  17. Sessler, Marc (September 22, 2015). "Giants release WR Preston Parker, sign Kenrick Ellis". Retrieved October 1, 2015.
  18. Eisen, Michael (October 4, 2015). "Giants sign TE Will Tye to active roster, release DT Kenrick Ellis". Retrieved October 4, 2015.
  19. "Vikings put Shamar Stephen on IR, sign Kenrick Ellis". Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  20. "Vikings Announce Roster Moves, Set 53-Man Roster". September 3, 2016.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Cimini, Rich (July 8, 2011). "Kenrick Ellis gets trial rescheduled". ESPN. Archived from the original on May 17, 2012. Retrieved May 17, 2012.
  22. Vrentas, Jenny (May 17, 2012). "Kenrick Ellis' legal case resolved with plea agreement, victim's attorney says". The Star-Ledger. Archived from the original on May 17, 2012. Retrieved May 17, 2012.
  23. Vrentas, Jenny (May 21, 2012). "Jets' Kenrick Ellis to serve 45 days in jail for assault and battery plea". The Star-Ledger. Archived from the original on May 21, 2012. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  24. "New York Jets’ Kenrick Ellis Released from Jail".

External links[edit | edit source]

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