Whether it’s playing tic-tac-toe or rock-paper-scissors, Jaylen Ellis is always up for a competition.
Entering his third season on the varsity squad, the Baylor commit is one of the elite receivers in the area and relishes when he has a receiver just as talented on the other side of the field, like in the Raiders’ first fall scrimmage against his friend and Ohio State pledge Garrett Wilson and Lake Travis.
“Just being the competitive people we are, we want to win no matter what,” Ellis said. “Some trash talk might split out, but it’s all love. (Cedar Ridge) is so close already, this season is just going to make us come together even more.”
Ellis spent the summer before his senior season working on footwork and working on shorter routes to rake in more catches this season. He took part in Nike Football’s “The Opening” Finals in Dallas this year, one of the top camp for football recruits in the nation.
He said he’s excited about the stacked offensive line and new starting quarterback Jaylen Bown can effortlessly throw a 70-yard bomb on the money even if he does it with a weird sidearm motion.
As a defensive coach, Sam Robinson is learning that if he doesn’t commit two players to Jaylen Ellis, he’s going to be seeing the senior wide receiver highlights all practice long.
Robinson said the Raiders have run the ball well the past few seasons with current Missouri Tigers running back Simi Bakare, and other teams would come in with the focus of shutting him down.
Now, Ellis will be the main target.
“He’s always a threat and if you’re not able to get him the ball, it’s because he’s covered by multiple people,” Robinson said. “We expect it’s going to take more than one guy to account for Jaylen. That’s going to open up stuff for other people.”
Ellis is borrowing a phrase from the New England Patriots and is working to continue to do his job.
“If I can just keep the same mindset and stay composed,” he said. “I might not come out with 15 catches a game with them keying on me. Losing Simi was big because he could do it all but we still have a good running back in (senior Chris “Deuce” Vaughn), so it’ll open up.”