10-year-old ready to move up

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 15, 2004

They’re supposed to be learning about themselves and what they can do. They’re supposed to be gaining knowledge in school, in their community and at home.

Ten-year-olds aren’t supposed to have this much confidence.

Whoever made those rules never meant Rodney Ellis Jr.

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As a running back for the Dolphins in the Selma Parks and Recreation Department Youth Football League, Ellis has surprised even his father and head coach, Rodney Ellis Sr. The youngster played well in Saturday’s All-Star Game against Demopolis, won by the Selma All-Stars, 60-0.

Rodney Jr. began playing football seven years ago and has been with the Dolphins since. This is his first year with his father as his head coach.

“I like to watch football on television,” Rodney said, “because I can learn by watching them. It’s a good thing to do.

It’ll help you win football games.”

It seems the youngster has learned quite well, thank you very much. He scored 10 touchdowns in the regular season, three in the recent Kiwanis Bowl and three in the playoffs, including one in the championship game as the Dolphins finished second in the league.

“I never thought he would get that serious into football,” Rodney Sr. said. “Average kids just like to do different things and not focus on one thing.”

Rodney Jr., however, is not an ordinary kid. Despite his young age, Rodney Jr. is well focused on his goals and knows what he needs to get there. As a fourth grader at Five Point Elementary School in Orville, Rodney Jr. is an A-B student. He styles his running after Keith High School back Josh Aguero, and he loved to watch former Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams before Williams announced his retirement prior to this season.

Next season, Rodney will move up to the next level – 11-12-year-olds. The advancement may frighten other young players, but not Rodney.

“I want to move up,” he said. “The 9-10 league is too slow. I want the big boys.”

Rodney’s dad has no doubt his son can handle the new league.

“He’s got a heart for the game,” said Rodney Sr., himself a former running back for Keith High School (1989-’92). “Once you get a heart for the game, that’s all it takes. Everything else falls into place.”