McKennie Leaves UMD Visit Raving

Maryland already has one offensive line commitment in the 2015 class, and the Terps look to be in position to snag a second following last weekend. McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.) offensive guard Ellis McKennie was back in College Park for the second time in three weeks March 9, and he came away raving.

Maryland already has one offensive line commitment in the 2015 class, and the Terps look to be in position to snag a second following last weekend. McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.) offensive guard Ellis McKennie was back in College Park for the second time in three weeks March 9, and he came away raving.

"Maryland is definitely at the top of my list right now," said the 6-foot-3, 285 pounder. "First of all, they're my only offer, so they were always one of my top schools, but now I'm definitely sure they're at the top. I really like all the coaches there, the vibe I get from everyone there, and I like the idea of staying home and representing my state."

McKennie was highly impressed with the February junior day when he watched the Terps' hoops team take on Syracuse, but after taking in the March 9 overtime victory against Virginia, he was sold on the school's fan base. He said on both occasions he got a sense of what the UMD community is all about, and he's sure if the football team shows progress that same energy and enthusiasm will be present at Byrd Stadium.

"Just going to those basketball games, being in that atmosphere, I saw how the students are there and how the fan base is behind the athletes," McKennie said. "I got a sense of the community and the support they have there. The energy, it was awesome. I didn't think the Virginia game would top the Syracuse game, but it was great. I loved how intense [the game] was and how the students responded and rushed the court."

Fan support isn't the only reason McKennie is high on UMD. While the McDonogh lineman had met Maryland's coaches in February, he had yet to speak to line coach Greg Studrawa before March 9. And after chatting with the new assistant, McKennie said he could "definitely" see himself playing for him.

"Coach's resume is very impressive, and the fact that he came from a winning program at LSU was very encouraging. It shows Maryland means business and they want to get better," McKennie said. "And personally, Coach Stud really was great with me and my mom, who was with me [March 9]. He came across as a laid back guy and someone I could relate to, but I know he knows how to coach and get the most out of his guys.

"We talked a lot about academics and how the O-linemen will get it done in the classroom. Then we talked about me redshirting a year, and how that could benefit me since I'm young for my grade."

McKennie also spoke briefly to head coach Randy Edsall and his recruiter, Keith Dudzinski. He said he already had a good rapport with Dudzinski, so their chat was just casual small talk. But he said he and his mother hit it off with Edsall, even though it was a short discussion.

"[Edsall] and my mom were talking and relating really well. We're actually from Hanover in Pennsylvania and Coach Edsall I think is from Glen Rock, so we're both from small towns in Pennsylvania," McKennie said. "I thought that was pretty cool, how we come from similar backgrounds."

McKennie went on to discuss the importance of representing his home state, one of the main reasons he has Maryland rated highly. During the first junior day, he listened to Terps Wes Brown and Stefon Diggs implore the hometown recruits to consider sticking with the in-state school, and the message hit home with McKennie.

"I think definitely there's a great crop of linemen here, and if Maryland is able to bring in local guys like me, they're going to have a lot of success heading into the Big Ten," McKennie said. "It started last year with Damian [Prince], and if it continues that's going to benefit them greatly. It's something I'm really thinking about."

McKennie plans to return to College Park for a spring practice and then a personal visit so he can see a class and delve into the school's academics.

Don't expect McKennie to commit in the next week or two, however. Though the Terps are his only offer, Virginia Tech is still monitoring him and he's set to visit Penn State in two weeks.

"I'm still not ready to decide just yet," McKennie said. "I'm thinking mid-summer or the end of summer I'll be ready to announce my decision."

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