Just three short years ago Bills linebacker Keith Ellison was preparing as well as he could for the NFL Combine as the then Oregon State prospect worked hard in an effort to convince NFL talent evaluators he was worth the investment. That experience is now being passed on to the next Ellison destined for the NFL, Keith's younger brother Kevin.
"Yeah I've given him a little bit of advice," said the elder Ellison. "He's just been asking me how the whole process works so he's trying to get it as familiar as he can. I basically just told him what the four days were like and what it was like for me to go through it so hopefully he has a pretty good idea of what to expect."
Kevin Ellison (6'1" 224), a two-time All Pac-10 strong safety for USC, is ranked by some scouting services as the third best strong safety in the draft and is projected to go in the third or fourth round. Passed over by the Senior Bowl and hindered by a balky knee in the East-West Shrine game, the defensive back is eager to show his stuff.
"He's pretty focused about the whole thing," said Keith. "He's excited, but he just wants to go out there and perform well."
Ellison says his younger brother is 100 percent healthy going into the Combine and will be performing in every aspect of the physical workout. Safeties won't be on the field until the final day of testing next Tuesday. As for the numbers he's shooting for Keith believes Kevin has some specific figures in mind.
"I've seen him getting ready and I'm sure he's got some personal goals that he wants to hit," said the Bills linebacker. "He won't tell anybody, but he did give me a few numbers. He's shooting to do pretty well out there and I think everyone has certain goals, so he's no different than anyone else going out there."
Kevin Ellison is described by most scouting services as a physical in-the-box strong safety that can hit with the best of what the 2008 class has to offer. Older brother Keith was also a safety early in his college career before transitioning to linebacker.
Being three years apart in age Keith and Kevin never went against each other in the Pac-10. But that could change with their ultimate goal set to come to fruition in two and a half months time.
"It was always one of our goals to make it in some professional league whether it was basketball or football because we had played both," said Keith a former sixth-round pick of the Bills. "We always talked about it for as long as I can remember. It's always been a goal of ours to get to the professional level."
Keith admits playing against his brother's team at the NFL level would be "pretty cool," but right now the older brother isn't interested in taking any of the spotlight away from his younger brother. He knows it's a big week for Kevin's NFL prospects.
"It's really exciting," said Keith. "I'm really happy for him because he's worked so hard to get to this point. And at the combine he'll have an opportunity to show a little bit more to the scouts and coaches and it'll be good for him."
So as interested as the older Ellison is in terms of how his younger brother fares at the Combine, the last thing he'll be doing is checking in with him.
"I'm going to try to let him go out there and just focus," said Keith. "If he needs to call me, he can call me. This combine is all about him and what he needs. I'll definitely find out how he did when it's all done, but I'm just going to let him go out there and take care of what he needs to take care of, and he knows I'm always here if he needs to call me about anything."