Steve Ellis made his first season as cornerbacks coach and special team's coordinator for the Blue Raiders a memorable one.
Ellis' cornerbacks had 152 tackles, nine interceptions, 12 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and 21 pass breakups on their way to leading the Sun Belt Conference in pass defense and interceptions. Seniors Marcus Udell and Alex Suber were tabbed first team all-conference as Udell led the league with seven interceptions and Suber had 12 pass breakups while ranking 28th nationally in passes defended.
His special teams blocked eight kicks, hit 18 of 22 field goal attempts, had 1,119 yards in kick returns, downed 22 punts inside the 20-yard line and had seven punts of 50 yards or more. Sophomore placekicker Alan Gendreau earned first team all-conference honors.
Ellis made his way to Murfreesboro after serving the previous six seasons at Nicholls State where he was the defensive coordinator his final three years. Ellis, who also served as the team's pro liaison and supervised academic progress, was the team's safeties coach in 2003 before taking over the linebackers in 2004 and 2005.
The Stringer, Miss., native became one of the youngest defensive coordinators in the country when he was named to the position prior to spring drills in 2006 and guided the Colonels to conference best marks in scoring defense and pass defense. Nicholls finished the 2006 season ranked 19th nationally in total defense.
In 2007, Ellis' unit led the Southland Conference in total defense, pass defense, interceptions, and was second in scoring defense. Overall, NSU ranked 33rd nationally in total defense.
In six seasons at Nicholls State, Ellis' players won seven first team all-conference honors, four National Player of the Week awards, three All-American honors, two conference Newcomer of the Year awards, and garnered a defensive player of the year accolade.
During the summer of 2008, Ellis participated in the NFL Coaches Fellowship Program with the Pittsburgh Steelers under Head Coach Mike Tomlin. Ellis worked with the defensive backs under the guidance of legendary defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau.
He started for three seasons for the Colonels as a defensive back, before sitting out his senior season after suffering a knee injury during the fourth game of the 2002 campaign against Southern University. While with the Colonels, Ellis was named to the All-Southland Conference team all three seasons he played and registered over 200 career tackles and five interceptions for the Colonels. Ellis, the team captain in 2001, was second in the Southland Conference with 104 tackles during the 2000 season.
The 29-year old was a four-year letterman as a quarterback and defensive back at Stringer High School before continuing his playing days at Nicholls State. Ellis earned his bachelor's degree in secondary education from Nicholls State in 2003.