By VINCE PELUSO
Pymatuning Valley football player Cody Ellis had the majority of senior season stolen from him when he broke his ankle in the second game of the 2013 season.
But, Ellis was able to come back from that injury to play in his final two games then go onto successful seasons in wrestling and baseball.
Now, Ellis is focused on college, specifically, his future at Thiel, where he’ll continue his education and football career.
“It’s close, I can still have my family watch me and everything,” he said. “I think it’s a good fit. It’s more of a smaller school so I have a better chance of playing than I do going to a bigger school. It’s small, and I like smaller schools.
“I’m really excited about it.”
Ellis said it was difficult going down with an injury so early in his final season with the Lakers.
“I was hoping it was just a minor injury, but it ended up being something big,” he said. “I was kind of devastated. I was a senior and a captain. I came back to play in the last two and a half games, which was nice. I came back pretty fresh, I still had pain in my ankle at time, but I was ready to rock and roll. I didn’t care because I was out there playing the sport I love, I went big.
“I got out there and played as hard as I could.”
Originally, Ellis said he saw himself wrestling in college.
But, he said it was his dad who encouraged him to look closer at a football scholarship.
“I was trying to decide, and I thought I was going to go to college to wrestle,” he said. “Wrestling was a big part of my life, it was really the first sport I got introduced to. I planned on going to college for that then I was getting interest for football. My dad started telling me, ‘You should try to look to play football. You broke your ankle, you didn’t finish out your senior year, you should look into.’ I was like yeah, I should at least look at it.
“I looked at it and had more offers. I figured it was worth a shot being that I loved the sport so I thought, why not?”
The son of Rick and Michelle Ellis said his parents’ influence was extremely important to him, which is why he wanted to play at a school that was close enough that they could watch him come play.
“It’s nice that I can come and stay at home if I want to,” he said. “My parents can come see me play. They’re such big supporters of what I do, especially with sports. If I need anything they’re close by and can help me out.”
Ellis will be joined at Thiel by PV teammate Tim Cross.
“Me and him coming out to play together, it’ll be like high school,” he said. “Playing on the same side of the ball, it’ll be fun to know some out there and it won’t just be me on my own.”
Ellis is expected to play defensive end come fall.
He said he was given the choose to play other positions, but that’s where he felt most comfortable.
“From the film they got, they liked me at defensive end,” he said. “They asked me if I was interested in trying out for some other positions, but I told them I felt most comfortable there. I think it’s a good position for me.”
Ellis said he liked what he saw when he visited the Tomcats.
“I watched a couple of their games last year,” he said. “They didn’t do so hot last year, but they’re turning it around big time and working as hard as any other school in the country to get better.
“I really liked that about what the coaches were telling me.”
Ellis didn’t single out any particular moment as his favorite with the Lakers, but said the experience of playing PV was a great one.
“I’d have to say playing at PV was fun, it was great,” he said. “I wish I would’ve done a few things differently here and there to help me out, but I started for three years. I can’t complain. I had good coaches and I thank them because they helped me a lot.
“I have to recognize all my teammates, they were a blast to play with. I’ll never forget some of the games where we just had so much fun. We’d be on the field talking and laughing, but still taking it serious. We had so much fun playing the game.”
The international business major said the coaching staff with the Lakers was extremely important to him, as well.
“All the coaches really pitched in to help me,” he said. “I really appreciate it. I wouldn’t single any of them out because I liked them all the same. They all pushed me to my best which I appreciate.
“The harder they pushed, the harder I worked and the further I will be able to go in life. They taught me a lot of life lessons.”
Between now and August, Ellis said he’ll be lifting and running to prepare.
“We’re on a strict workout program, lifting Monday through Thursday, running almost every day,” he said. “It’s going pretty good. I’m lifting as much as I can to get stronger. Just trying to balance work and getting into the gym.
“I’m also playing summer baseball, so I think that’s helping me get into shape some, too.”