CLIFTON, Va. -- There were plenty of elite receivers at the NFTC showcase at Centreville High School April 26, but DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) class of 2016 wideout Tino Ellis stood a notch above many of them. Showing plenty of giddy-up, soft hands and acceleration, Ellis balled out in one-on-ones and in the 7-on-7 portion of the event.
"I was looking to go against some of the top guys and just prove myself," the 6-foot-185-pound Ellis said. "I wanted to show I was one of the receivers out here, and I think I did well."
Ellis' speed caught the eye of college recruiters early in the game as he started procuring offers before his sophomore season began. Now, he's up to a half-dozen verbals from the likes of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Rutgers and Old Dominion. He said Nebraska, Notre Dame, North Carolina and USC are keeping close tabs and may be next to pull the trigger.
"I just got the WVU offer [April 25], and that one meant a lot to me," Ellis said. "It's one of the schools I was aiming to get and I'm planning on getting down there this summer for a visit. I like their offense, they've had great receivers there, and it's a school I'll look at.
"I'm also hoping Nebraska and Notre Dame come in because both are great schools and have been recruiting me pretty hard. Their coaches sounded like they were close, so hopefully they come through."
Ellis, who claims no early favorites or standouts, hasn't taken any visits this offseason. He'd previously been to Virginia, Virginia Tech and Maryland. Ellis last visited College Park, Md., for a camp almost a year ago and was unable to return for any of the recent junior days or spring games.
"I'm trying to get back over to Maryland, and I definitely will this summer," Ellis said. "I'm trying to see USC, Florida and Georgia too, so I'll be a lot of different places. I'll be busy this summer."
The DeMatha wideout has held a Terps offer for more than a year. He said he already has a solid rapport with his recruiter, Mike Locksley, having spoken to him during campus visits and then staying in touch via social media.
"It's a good relationship so far. He's known me ever since I was in eighth grade, so we have a good thing going," Ellis said. "He tells me about the hometown movement a lot, saying how guys that have went to DeMatha and went on to Maryland did very well. He says to keep working hard, keep my grades straight and I'm good to go."
Ellis personally isn't sure if he wants to stay close to home for school or not.
"I honestly don't know yet," he said. "I haven't really thought about it too much. I'll make that decision later in my career."
Since he hasn't been on campus for quite some time, the Stags' standout has not met Maryland receivers coach Keenan McCardell yet. However, he's well aware of who McCardell is and said he'd like to chat with him during a visit at some point.
Ellis also said he'll be keeping tabs on how Maryland does in its first year against Big Ten competition. Like many young recruits, he wants to see how the Terps perform before throwing his hat in Maryland's ring.
"Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, that's some really, really good competition," Ellis said. "We'll see how they do this year. The [Big Ten] move is huge for them, and we'll see what they can do on the field."
Besides taking visits, Ellis said he'll be spending much of his summer training and honing his game. He's currently in the midst of offseason workouts and said the entire team is getting after it in the weight room.
"Everything has been going real well for us," Ellis said. "We've brought in some new guys, some big linemen, and we're getting better and better. We're looking to win another championship here."
DeMatha's Ellis Shines at NFTC, Status Update
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