Senior Day Holds Additional Importance for Ellis and TeammatesNovember 15, 2007
By Blake Freeland, CSU Sports Information
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Long before the crowds pile into CSU Stadium, before the band starts up, even before the players come on to the field for warm ups, one lone player strides across the grass.
With no one around, the player’s pace slows as he crosses midfield and approaches the 20 yard line. With every step comes more hesitation. With just one thing on his mind, everything else seems to disappear. Coming to the 20, he takes a deep breath, and begins the hardest conversation as he circles the logo painted on the field.
The logo is that of a black circle with EG-21 written inside. It stands as a memory of a fallen teammate, Eddie Gadson, who was killed in a car accident before the 2005 season, and would have been playing in his final game in a CSU uniform this weekend.
The player is Nick Ellis, senior kicker for Charleston Southern, and longtime friend and roommate of Gadson. The pair came to CSU together, having both played at Union Grove High School. Already, the duo was inseparable, and of course, became college roommates in 2003.
“Having him as a roommate and a teammate was such a blessing and taught me so much,” said Ellis.
Ellis pays tribute to Gadson before every home game, circling the logo and having a quiet moment alone with his lost friend and teammate.
“I didn’t know anyone had paid attention to that,” Ellis said sheepishly when asked about the tribute. “It’s just a way that I remember him. I talk to him and tell him that I miss him.”
Senior day is always an emotional day for football players, knowing this is the last game they will play in front of their home crowd. Many times the last game they will play in their uniform that they have had for as many as five years.
Saturday’s senior day will be especially emotional for Charleston Southern, knowing that their senior class is incomplete without the physical presence of Gadson. His parents, Ed and Paula Gadson will be present at the game to stand in for their son, who in just one season led the Big South Conference in receiving, earning All-Conference honors.
“I think you have to use the emotions of a day like this to your advantage. Friday will be very tough with our senior meetings, but I still have Eddie and his family in my heart and in my mind. He was always so competitive; he made you want to be better because he would beat you in everything.”
Ellis has given Gadson a lot of the credit for his own success. The all-time points leader at CSU has school records for the longest field goal (48 yards against Hawaii), and the most field goals in a game (four against Savannah State).
No matter the success that the Buccaneers or Ellis have, Gadson and his contributions, will never be forgotten.
“I have been blessed to be a part of this team,” said Ellis. “In high school, I went into a start up program and by my senior year we were in the playoffs. When I came here, I got to help rejuvenate this team from a 1-11 team, to a 9-2 record. I’ve been able to take part in some big games and big wins. It was good to be a part of it. The Coastal Carolina game in 2005 is one of the best memories, because of what it meant for Eddie and his parents. When the game ended on the 21 yard line, it really hit me. It was obvious from the way it ended that he was there, but when we saw his number on the scoreboard, it was very special.”