Kalan Ellis is heading to Syracuse.
The Saint Louis senior offensive lineman made it official on Wednesday morning, signing a letter of intent to play for the Orange.
“I feel great. I’m going to be the first on my mom’s side to go to college and get a scholarship. It’s my first time going to the East Coast to play ball,” Ellis said before a signing ceremony at the new Clarence T.C. Ching Athletic Center.
At 6 feet, 5 inches and 295 pounds, Ellis also has a 3.6 grade-point average. In addition Syracuse, Ellis also had offers from Hawaii, Virginia, UCLA and San Diego State. As a freshman, he sat out after transferring to Saint Louis. He was a reserve as a sophomore and saw more playing time as a junior. Once Hawaii offered in the spring, radar screens across the country detected the promising lineman.
Syracuse’s offer came on Apr. 3. Ellis committed to the Orange on July 23. It is a similar track shared by Kamehameha offensive lineman Austyn Kauhi, who also signed with Syracuse on Wednesday.
“It’s probably because of we bonded so well to the coaches. Two coaches are from Hawaii. One played and one coached, and we developed a relationship that was good. I guess we both liked it,” Ellis said.
Hawaii was first to offer a scholarship to Ellis in the spring. Not long after that, Syracuse came calling. Assistant coach Blair Cavanaugh made the initial connection with the support of his father, current ‘Cuse offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh — the former Hawaii OL guru — and head coach Dino Babers, a former standout linebacker for the Rainbow Warriors.
The limber and light-footed Ellis is also a force on the basketball court.
“I’m planning on playing (basketball). The (ILH) season is going to start in January,” he said.
Football, if a season is played, could start in February. By June or July, Ellis said, he’ll be on his way to college.
“Shout out to my family and my coaches. They helped me get here. Shout out to my school that helped me perform well in the classroom so that I can perform well on the field,” he said.
The formal scholarship acceptance came on the early signing day for football recruits. In this instance, signing day comes before players have their senior season in the islands because fall sports were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saint Louis co-offensive line coach Rob Crowell was on hand to see Ellis sign his letter.
“I’m proud of him. It’s awesome. It’s been a long journey and it’s just starting. Coach Cav has history here and what I know of him, he has a great eye for talent, especially on the offensive line,” Crowell said. “Can’t go too far to get these guys, and he’s gone across the country to get these guys. I think he knows about the Hawaii players and what these guys can do. He’s got two great ones, that’s for sure.”