Despite missing time due to injury, McCarthy has racked up 41 tackles and two sacks this season, building off his 78-tackle, 12-sack campaign in 2010. His size and athleticism has attracted offers from USC, UCLA, Washington and Utah, among others.Read More Below
A top-ranked defensive tackle out of Monrovia High (Calif.), Ellis McCarthy has always been big. In second grade, for safety concerns, he was forced to move up two age groups in flag football. As a senior, his 6-4, 305-pound frame continues to strike fear into smaller, overmatched opponents.
"I don't have to worry about being too big to play tackle football now," said McCarthy, who regularly draws double and triple teams. Despite missing four of Monrovia's seven games this season due to injury, he already has recorded 41 tackles and two sacks.
His rare combination of size and speed allows him to stampede into the backfield. His array of pass rushing moves makes him a nightmare to block. Coach Ryan Maddox has dubbed him the Ndamukong Suh of high school football, which is fitting: he's just two pounds lighter than the Lions' budding star.
"There are a lot of kids out there with Ellis's size," said Maddox. "But there's not many with his skills at any level."
His numbers reflect that. During his standout junior year, McCarthy accumulated 78 tackles and 12 sacks, leading the Wildcats to a 12-2 record and the CIF Southern Section Mid Valley championship. He's become the face of Monrovia football.
Funny then, that he almost ended up elsewhere. Despite its talent-rich Southern California locale, Monrovia has a student population of just 1,700 students, a smaller school than the massive pass rusher envisioned. His father, Ed, and mother, Libbie, originally considered enrolling him in nearby Bishop Amat High (Calif.), a traditional power that went 9-2 in 2010.
Four years later, he -- and the rest of the team -- embraces the town's close-knit feel.
"It's like someone took a city in the Midwest and plopped it down in Southern California," said Maddox.
So where will McCarthy call home next year? For now, that remains uncertain. A number of Pac-12 schools, including USC, UCLA and Washington, are vying for his services, as are SEC programs Tennessee, Florida and Georgia. He's careful not to reveal his leanings, though he'd prefer to stay close to home.
"I haven't had a game that my parents haven't seen me play since ever, really," he said.
His size is BCS ready. His bruising playing style is, too. If the past is any indication, one thing is certain: He'll wreak havoc no matter where he goes.
"He's amazing to see," said Maddox.