Eric Bossi Rivals.com Basketball Recruiting Analyst
Most kids would jump at the opportunity to earn an athletic scholarship in one sport. Cornelius Elder is going to have his pick of either basketball or football.
A 5-foot-11 senior point guard at Nashville (Tenn.) Ensworth Academy, Elder had a great reason to be a little late in joining the basketball team for the third year in a row. That's because he was busy rushing for over 2,500 yards and 30 touchdowns while leading his team to its third straight state title on the football field.
"It felt great," Elder told Rivals.com of finishing with his third straight state championship in football. "It was hard. We should have won it in my freshman year but we kept working hard and got those last three. It's a great honor, a lot of people don't get to do that."
On the football side of things, Elder ranks No. 153 nationally as a four-star athlete. He has taken an official visit to UCLA and is planning January trips to Ohio State, Georgia Tech and Ole Miss. Recently he hosted Ole Miss and Vanderbilt for football in-home visits.
But Elder's first love is a basketball, and because of that he's leaving the door open to play basketball.
"Basketball is still my first love," said Elder. " I'm taking it day by day and seeing how everything turns out."
A tough-as-nails point guard and one of the nation's best perimeter defenders, Elder is a guy who makes game-winning plays. Four games into the hooops season, he's starting to feel pretty good about his transition back onto the hardwood.
"It's a little tough at first," said Elder. " I'm getting better. I'm a lot better than I thought I would be right now. Conditioning is hard. We play really fast, and then just the shooting part. I've got to get in the gym and get shots up."
Last summer, Elder starred on the grassroots hoops circuit for Team Nashville. Still, the chance that he would end up playing football likely scared off some coaches as only a handful of mid-level programs offered him scholarships. Lately, he's starting to see more programs reach out to him.
"I know I've talked to Tennessee and they came to a game the other day," said Elder about his hoops recruiting. "My AAU coach says that he's talked to Texas and Auburn, so we'll see how that goes."
For those thinking about recruiting him in hoops, Elder says that he's still open and feels like his leadership and toughness could help out a team. At the same time, though, he's very appreciative of the position that he's in where he can choose to play either football or basketball at a high level in college.
Elder says that he'll give his decision between sports at least another month or so of thought. But football's signing day is approaching in February, meaning he'll need to pick one or the other relatively soon. He said it wouldn't just come down the biggest name but the best opportunity to do what he wants to do.
"I don't want to say that I will pick because of the biggest program," said Elder of picking between hoops and football. "The difference would be how I feel about it after I sit down with my mom and talk about it.
"As far as picking schools, I just want a good coaching staff and place where I feel like I'm at home with the coaches and the players."