Steve Spurrier described Bruce Ellington recently as the best clutch receiver in South Carolina history, as seen most prominently by his game-winning touchdown catch in the Outback Bowl against Michigan and his overtime TD grab on fouth-and-15 at Missouri.
The San Francisco 49ers agreed.
Ellington climbed up draft boards in the final weeks and months leading up to the NFL Draft, an ascent that culminated early Saturday afternoon with his selection by the 49ers with the sixth pick of the fourth round (No. overall) in the 2014 NFL Draft.
The 5-foot-9 Ellington joins former teammate Marcus Lattimore, who is expected to contribute at running back this season after sitting out last season, in the Bay Area.
Ellington is the second former Gamecock taken in this year's draft, joining, of course, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who was picked first overall by the Houston Texans on Thursday night.
A year after catching 40 passes for 600 yards, Ellington was USC's top receiver in 2013 with 49 receptions for 775 yards (15.8 yards per catch) and eight touchdowns.
He concluded his career with a flourish, catching six passes for a career-high 140 yards and two touchdowns and throwing a TD pass to Connor Shaw in the Capital One Bowl win over Wisconsin.
In his three-year career, Ellington caught 89 passes for 1,586 yards and 16 touchdowns. A two-sport standout, he played three years (and three games in 2013-14) with the USC men's basketball team until deciding to devote his full attention to football.
Ellington was a three-year starter on the hardwood, averaging over 11 points per game for the Gamecocks. He earned a spot on the SEC All-Freshman team in both football and basketball. Ellington's cousin, former Clemson RB Andre Ellington, is a running back for the Arizona Cardinals.