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South Carolina WR Bruce Ellington turning pro early

The four-year transition Bruce Ellington made from basketball to football was finally completed Friday when the South Carolina wide receiver announced he will leave college early for the NFL draft.

And whichever NFL club lands him, its fans can in part thank Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington.

It was the older Ellington who first suggested to Bruce, at the time just a point guard on the Gamecocks basketball team, that he could succeed at both football and basketball at the school. And a few days ago in Orlando, when postandcourier.com asked the younger Ellington if Andre would influence his decision on whether to turn pro, he left no doubt:

"Oh, definitely," Ellington said.

Not that Ellington's performance in the Capital One Bowl against Wisconsin didn't provide a prodding of its own. Ellington pulled in six catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns for his most impressive career game, including this spectacular one-handed grab:

"I would like to thank Coach Spurrier, Coach Horn and Coach Martin for giving me the opportunity to play both football and basketball at South Carolina," said Ellington as part of a USC release. "I also want to thank all the Gamecock fans and my teammates for the past four years in Columbia. It's been a great experience and I've been truly blessed."

The decision also means the end of Ellington's basketball career at South Carolina, where he averaged 10 points per game as a point guard last year. He played in just three games this year -- between the end of the football team's regular season and the beginning of its bowl game preparations -- and will train to improve his draft position rather than returning to the hardwood.

South Carolina also confirmed previously reported early NFL entries for three other Gamecocks: defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, cornerback Vic Hampton and defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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