College hoops players who could excel in football

Bruce Ellington just couldn’t stay away. Neither could Demetri Goodson.

Even though both players had always earned more praise for their prowess on the basketball court, Ellington and Goodson have decided to return to the other place they spent a large chunk of their childhood: the football field.

Goodson started 68 of 69 games at point guard for Gonzaga the past two seasons. But this summer he transferred to Baylor, where he has joined the Bears’ football squad as a defensive back. Goodson is the younger brother of former Texas A&M star running back Mike Goodson, who now plays for the Carolina Panthers. He’ll have two years of eligibility remaining and can play immediately since Gonzaga doesn’t offer football.

Bruce Ellington, an SEC All-Freshman team selection in basketball last season, will also try to play football at South Carolina.
(US Presswire)

Ellington, meanwhile, will attempt to play both sports at South Carolina, where he started every game at point guard for the Gamecocks last season. He made the SEC All-Freshman team after averaging 12.8 points and 3.2 assists.

The 5-foot-9, 197-pound Ellington will play wide receiver for the football squad. He certainly has some impressive credentials. In 2009, he was a finalist for South Carolina’s Mr. Football award at Berkeley High School, where he tallied 2,878 all-purpose yards and 23 touchdowns as a quarterback. His team won the state championship.

In honor of the beginning of college football season, here is a list of other college basketball stars who could probably do some damage on the football field.

Aaron Craft, Ohio State, sophomore – As the starting point guard, Craft is the Buckeyes’ team leader on the basketball court. But he’s also shown he’s adept at directing the show on the football field. Craft was a three-year starter at quarterback at Liberty-Benton High School near Findlay, Ohio. He passed for 7,824 yards and rushed for 3,318 yards while leading his team to a combined record of 38-4. The 6-2 Craft quit football prior to his senior season to focus on basketball.

Trevor Releford, Alabama, sophomore – Releford – who didn’t play football until his junior year – was regarded as one of the top safety prospects in the nation at Bishop Miege High School in Kansas, where he also played wide receiver. But he was pursued even more heavily on the basketball court. Releford turned down offers from schools such as Tennessee, Arizona and Minnesota to sign with the Crimson Tide, where he started at point guard as a freshman.

Luke Loucks, Florida State, senior – The Seminoles point guard has seen action in all 101 games of his college career. Still, there are almost certainly days when the 6-5, 200-pounder wonders how he would’ve fared on a college football field. As a senior in 2007, Loucks set a record at Clearwater (Fla.) High School for passing yards in a single game with 421. He threw for 1,989 yards that year and was a two-time all-county selection.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia, freshman – College coaches would’ve loved to have given Caldwell-Pope a chance to display his talents as a wide receiver. But you can bet Georgia coach Mark Fox won’t be letting Caldwell-Pope anywhere near a football field. The 6-4 shooting guard is the first McDonald’s All-American the school has signed out of high school in 20 years.

Oregon's E.J. Singler was better than his older brother, Kyle, in football.
(Getty Images)

E.J. Singler, Oregon, junior – Singler may not be as high profile of a basketball player as his older brother, Kyle, who starred at Duke. But he wins the sibling rivalry when it comes to football. E.J. earned all-state honors at both tight end and outside linebacker as a senior at South Medford High School in Oregon. His team finished 8-1 in the regular season.

Conner Teahan, Kansas, senior – Teahan received a football scholarship offer from Tulsa and generated interest from schools such as Wisconsin, Kansas State and Missouri following his standout career as a quarterback at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, Mo. But he gave up the sport to become a walk-on on the Kansas basketball squad. Although he hasn’t logged very many minutes, Teahan earned a ring as a member of the Jayhawks’ national championship team in 2008.

Demarco Cox, Ole Miss, sophomore – Numerous recruiting services rated Cox as one of the top 50 offensive tackles in the nation as a senior at Yazoo City High School in Mississippi. But he was even more highly regarded in basketball, as listed him as the 83rd-best prospect in the Class of 2010. The 6-8, 280-pound Cox averaged just 1.6 points and 1.9 rebounds in his first year with the Rebels.

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Jason King is a college football and basketball writer for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter. Send Jason a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Monday, Aug 29, 2011