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Elon receiver tries to reach even higher level
Coming off the open date on Elon University’s football schedule, Aaron Mellette has had time to rest while assessing and reassessing the manner in which his senior season is unfolding.
His mission statement moving forward could be considered a warning siren for opposing defenses.
“This week, from here on, I’m going to try to elevate my play and go out there and try to dominate,” the star receiver said. “The way I’m playing, I’ve got to take it to another level.”
But is that even possible?
By statistical measures, Mellette, who leads the Football Championship Subdivision with 10 touchdown receptions, is delivering at an exceedingly prolific rate as the Phoenix (2-4 overall, 0-3 league) prepares for Saturday’s homecoming game against Western Carolina (1-6, 0-5).
He rode a monster surge into Elon’s bye week, a three-game tear totaling 35 catches for 482 yards and seven touchdowns — supplied, no less, against league powers Georgia Southern (ranked No. 3 in the FCS), Wofford (ranked No. 8) and Appalachian State (ranked No. 13).
“I don’t think you can ever reach a ceiling with how you’re playing. You can always play better,” he said. “So I’m trying to elevate my game even more, and elevate my teammates around me. If I’m playing better and I can get them to play better, that will make things easier.”
Mellette’s tour de force 13-catch, 237-yard, three-touchdown performance two weeks ago at Appalachian State no doubt provided more attention-grabbing data for NFL Draftniks to pore through.
Another indelible moment from that game in Boone — a 35-23 Phoenix loss — occurred afterward on the field, when Mellette put his arm around Dave Blank and said, simply, “I’m sorry” to the Elon athletics director.
“Just the character in the kid,” Elon coach Jason Swepson said. “He wants to win here, and he’s not thinking about his future. It’s not messing with his mind. He’s in the here and now, which is difficult to do.
“When he shows up, it’s all Elon, 100 percent. It’s just a credit to him and his focus.”
Size and speed are among Mellette’s most-cited and most-noticeable physical attributes.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound receiver’s stamina continues to wow Swepson, too.
“He’s getting over 60 snaps a game, which is unheard of for the wide receiver position,” Swepson said. “Usually you’re averaging 35 to 45 tops.”
Swepson said there have been countless sideline instances when he has instructed receivers coach Kevin Downing to send in a sub after Mellette has zipped down field on a go route or deep pattern.
“But then I’ll turn around and he’s already back at the line of scrimmage,” Swepson said. “I mean, there’s no quit in the kid. It’s amazing to see. He’s just laying it on the line for his teammates.”
t’s mid-October and Mellette is more than aware that the clock is ticking on his college career.
Five regular-season games remain for Elon.
“I’m not focused on it, but in the back of my mind, it’s there,” he said. “And I’m like, ‘I’m going to make sure I’m going out with no regrets, doing everything I possibly can to try and win games.’ ”
A big finish could be brewing.
By Adam Smith / Times-News