ORLANDO, Fla. – Injuries have been the bane for Georgia linebacker Dannell Ellerbe for most of the 2008 campaign.
But at least he'll get one final opportunity to make a good impression on the NFL scouts.
Ellerbe will be part of the East squad that takes on the West in the annual East-West Shrine Game Jan. 17 at the University of Houston's Robertson Stadium.
"It's a good opportunity for me," Ellerbe said. "It's been a tough year for me, being hurt and all, so I'm glad to get one more chance."
Ellerbe is one of five linebackers on the East squad, a list that includes South Carolina's Jasper Brinkley, West Virginia's Mortty Ivy, Wisconsin's DeAndre Levy and South Florida's Tyrone McKenzie.
Missouri's Chase Daniel is the quarterback for the East squad.
It's been a difficult year for Ellerbe, a preseason member of the All-SEC team who strained the MCL in his right knee against Alabama and missed games against Tennessee, Vanderbilt and LSU.
Due to his absence, Ellerbe enters Georgia's game in the Capital One Bowl with only 29 tackles after leading the Bulldogs last year with 93.
"It's really been a depressing season for me, but it can't do nothing but be better," Ellerbe said. "The injuries, the expectations … it's just been a tough year."
But it's one Ellerbe said can at least end on a happy note with a victory over the Big Ten Spartans, a decision which would give the Bulldogs a 10-win season for the sixth time in seven years.
"A win would change some of the feelings that I have now if we could win this one," he said. "But not much, though."
Prior to Georgia's workout at Olympia High, Ellerbe conceded the knee continued to bother his play for the entire season. It wasn't until the season-finale against Georgia Tech that he's started to feel some relief.
"It's just been frustrating," he said. "But I'm close to 100 percent now, so I guess I can't complain."
He hopes a healthy knee will enable him to make the favorable impression scouts that he wasn't able to do during the regular season.
"I'm looking forward to making it up to them (the scouts) during the workouts," he said. "Having to go through all this has made me a little more hungry."
Despite his injury issues, several draft boards consider Ellerbe to fall somewhere in the third round of April's NFL Draft.
"Despite all that's happened, I still hope I can finish the year out strong (in the Capital One Bowl)," Ellerbe said. "I just want to go out with a bang, and see what happens. I'm ready to give it (the NFL) my best shot."