Even with his imposing frame, Ellis has proven to be quite effective at what the coaches required from him – clog the middle of the field. He has also shown the lateral moves to make plays down the line and the versatility to play any of the interior line positions, whether in a 3-4 scheme or classic 4-3 alignment.
2014 postseason action has seen Ellis emerge as a true force to be reckoned with, beginning with his stellar performance during practices prior to the East-West Shrine Game. He displayed very active hands and quick feet to defeat blockers off the snap. In one practice session, his sudden spin move left Oklahoma center Gabe Ikard grasping at air, as Ellis exploded into the backfield after steamrolling through Ikard and his guards to get to the ball carrier.
Ellis demonstrated that you need not be fooled by his girth – this is a player with quick feet who generates more than enough power to consistently walk the blockers back into the pocket – all traits that have some likening his skill level to that of New England's Vince Wilfolk, especially for the way he can easily overpower blockers and pressure the pocket.
Ellis' performance at the East-West Shrine Game would earn him a late invitation to play in the prestigious 2014 Senior Bowl. Curious to see if his East-West performance was a "one week thing," he further proved his ability to play at the next level. All week, the nose guard gave interior blockers fits, as he often used his quickness and snap anticipation to surge past blockers before they were in a stance.
Ellis has shown that he is a quick thinker who reacts well to what the blocker wants to do, either attacking with pure momentum or using a spin or sidestep move to get past him. He also has the talent to play a variety of roles, much like he did at Tech.
He began his Bulldogs career playing left defensive tackle in a 4-3 system. The following season, he shifted to nose guard when the team incorporated a 3-4 scheme. Back in a 4-3 alignment as a junior, he easily shifted over to right tackle, where he remained as a senior, returning to form after an injury-plagued 2012 campaign.
The Monroe, Louisiana prospect lettered three times in football at Neville High School and also excelled as a weight man for the track team. During his three seasons on the gridiron, he earned first-team All-District 2-4A as a junior and senior.
He was also named first-team All-State by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association as a senior.
Ellis needed to slim down before the coaches would allow him to suit up for Louisiana Tech and he spent the 2009 season as a red-shirt. In 2010, the once 390-plus pound lineman appeared in four games as a left defensive tackle, posting four tackles with a fumble recovery. He became a full-time starter at nose guard in 2011 and the All-Western Athletic Conference red-shirt sophomore delivered 29 tackles with 3.5 stops-for-loss.
As a senior, he started all twelve games, registering a career-high 48 tackles that included 5.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage to pick up All-Conference USA recognition.
Ellis started 25-of-37 games at Louisiana Tech – 14 at right defensive tackle and 11 at nose guard…Finished with 102 tackles (37 solos), 2.5 stops for losses of eight yards, 9.5 stops for losses of 21 yards and three quarterback pressures…Deflected three passes, caused two fumbles and recovered two others.
Ellis was named to the All-American Super Sleeper second-team unit by The NFL Draft Report as a nose guard, despite playing the entire season at the right defensive tackle position, where he received All-Conference USA honorable mention…Recorded a career-high 48 tackles (15 solos) with 5.5 stops for losses of 13 yards that included 1.5 sacks for minus seven yards…Credited with a pair of third-down quarterback pressures and also deflected one pass…Registered four assisted tackles vs. Tulane, with one being a sack for a loss of two yards while also being credited with a QB pressure and a pass break-up... Notched four total tackles vs. Army and totaled seven tackles (one solo, six assisted) at Texas-El Paso…Was in on four tackles (one solo) vs. North Texas and netted seven tackles vs. Southern Mississippi, including a career-best 2.5 stops for minus eight yards and a sack for a loss of five yards...Produced five tackles (three solo) at Rice and tied a career-high seven tackles vs. Tulsa...Delivered four tackles (two solo) at Texas-San Antonio, with a stop for a loss of one yard.
A late September high ankle sprain vs. Virginia limited Ellis to just eight appearances, as he shifted to right defensive tackle…Started vs. Illinois and Virginia, but after he was injured vs. the Cavaliers, he missed the entire Nevada-Las Vegas, Idaho and New Mexico State contests, while being limited in others…Finished with 21 tackles (nine solos) with two forced fumbles and one pass break-up...Registered three solo tackles and recorded his first career forced fumble at Houston…Had four tackles vs. Rice and three assisted tackles while also being credited with a pass break-up at Illinois...In his first action since injuring his ankle at Virginia, he made two total tackles vs. Texas-San Antonio...Set a career-high seven tackles at San Jose State, with three solo stops and four assisted tackles while forcing a fumble.
Ellis was named All-Western Athletic Conference second-team, taking over nose guard duties to earn 11 starts…Came off the bench vs. Southern Mississippi and Nevada, as he totaled 29 tackles (11 solos) with a sack, 3.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, a pass deflection and a QB pressure…Recorded a season-best three tackles vs. Central Arkansas and made two solo tackles with a pass break-up that was almost an interception at Idaho…Registered three tackles vs. San Jose State while helping hold the Spartans to only 12 yards rushing...Followed with three solo tackles at Fresno State and helped hold the WAC's top rusher (Robbie Rouse) to less than 100 yards on the ground...Delivered three tackles at Mississippi while assisting on a sack for a loss of one yard in a 27-7 win...Had two total tackles including one for a loss of two yards in Tech's 24-20 win at Nevada…Was in on five total tackles vs. New Mexico State, with 1.5 tackles for a loss of three yards and assisting on a sack and also recovering a fumble as Tech clinched a WAC Championship.
Ellis was activated for Tech's final four games, appearing as a reserve left defensive tackle vs. Fresno State, New Mexico State, San Jose State and Nevada…Recorded four tackles and assisted on a sack while also recovering one fumble…Made two solo tackles vs. Fresno State and assisted on a sack for a loss of a yard at New Mexico State...Recovered a fumble at San Jose State...Assisted on a tackle vs. Nevada.
Ellis red-shirted as a freshman.
Ellis attended Neville (Monroe, La.) High School, playing football for head coach Mickey McCarty…Lettered three times in football and also excelled as a weight man for the track team…Earned first-team All-District 2-4A as a junior and senior…Named first-team All-State by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association as a senior…The previous season, Ellis received second-team All-State honors from the Louisiana Football Coaches Association and was a two-time All- Northeast Louisiana selection by the Monroe News-Star…Closed out his career by playing in the inaugural Sportsman Paradise Bowl game…Also lettered for three years on the Neville track and field team, competing in the shot put…Finished third in the state of Louisiana in the shot put as a junior, with a toss of 140'-2" at the Louisiana Class 4A Finals…As a senior, he finished second in the shot put with a toss of 152'-0" at the LHSAA Class 4A Championships.
Ellis is a General Studies student…Son of Gloria Ellis and Jared Mack…Born Justin Jamaal Ellis on 12/27/90 in Monroe, Louisiana.