Dannell Ellerbe # LB
Height: 6-1 Weight: 245 Age: 29
Born: 11/29/1985 Hamlet , NC
Experience: 7th season
High School: Richmond Co. HS [Rockingham, NC]
Ellerbe is a versatile linebacker, having started at all three positions during his career. He found a home in the middle after shifting there as a junior and became a vital cog on the Bulldogs' defense. That unit missed him considerably for a stretch of four 2008 midseason games while he was recovering from a left knee sprain.
His importance to the team showed up in the final statistics. When he was healthy in 2007, the Bulldogs ranked 14th in the nation in total defense, 18th in scoring defense and 16th in rush defense. With Ellerbe battling his sore knee, Georgia finished ranked 22nd in total defense, 59th in scoring defense and 27th in rush defense for the 2008 campaign.
At Richmond County High School, Ellerbe was rated the nation's seventh-best outside linebacker by Rivals.com, adding Atlantic East Amazing 80, North Carolina Top 25, TheInsiders.com Atlantic 100 accolades. He was a first-team All-State selection by the Associated Press, adding Super Prep All-Mid-Atlantic and All-Mid Southeastern Conference honors.
The MVP of the 2003 Shrine Bowl (NC-SC All-Star Game), he registered nine tackles, three pass breakups and one interception in that contest. As a senior, he recorded 165 tackles and nine sacks, adding 24 tackles and five sacks as a junior. He also lettered in track, attaining a personal best of 6'6" in the high jump.
Ellerbe redshirted in 2004 at the University of Georgia. He was listed third on the depth chart at weak-side outside linebacker in 2005, but still managed to record 15 tackles (11 solos) with a pair of sacks and three stops for loss. He also had four quarterback pressures to go with his first career interception.
The 2006 season did not begin for Ellerbe until the fourth game, as he was suspended for the first three contests as a result of an auto accident and subsequent alcohol-related charges. He appeared in 10 games, mostly on special teams, as he produced just seven tackles (4 solos) for the campaign.
Ellerbe was a valuable performer for the Bulldogs in 2007, starting seven times at middle linebacker, three times on the weak side and once on the strong side. The second-team All-Southeastern Conference selection led the team with 93 tackles (63 solos) and finished second on the squad with 4.5 sacks and 12 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He recovered two fumbles, caused another and had his second career interception.
Ellerbe was a preseason All-American, but missed three full games and parts of two others after suffering a left knee sprain vs. Alabama. He started nine games in 2008, finishing with 33 tackles (17 solos) that included a pair of sacks, six stops behind the line of scrimmage and an interception.