There were at least three Maryland-area junior recruits who made the trip to State College, Pa., Nov. 1 for the Terps’ game against Penn State: DeMatha’s (Hyattsville, Md.) Tino Ellis, Avalon’s (Gaithersburg, Md.) Trevon Diggs and Bullis’ (Potomac, Md.) Dwayne Haskins. Diggs and Haskins have seen both teams play before, but last weekend was the first college game the receiver Ellis has been able to take in live this fall.
And what a game it was, a tooth-and-nail 20-19 victory for Maryland in Beaver Stadium.
“The game was crazy, the crowd was crazy and the atmosphere was electric. It was just a huge, great college football atmosphere,” the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Ellis said. “It started with the whole coin toss, no handshake thing (the Maryland captains, led by Stefon Diggs, did not shake hands with Penn State prior to the game), and it was just heated from there. I think the whole thing got Maryland ready to go, and they came out with a huge win.
“Maryland really fought hard. The offense got it done with Wes Brown and Stefon, and C.J. [Brown] played well too. And on defense, Will Likely shut down No. 5 on Penn State, and I thought Maryland’s linebackers did good in run defense. It was all-around a real good game for Maryland.”
While most recruits typically say one game, win or lose, really wouldn’t affect their thinking towards a particular program, Ellis said the Terps’ victory on hostile ground “showed me something.” Now, Ellis isn’t going to base his college decision off of one November victory, but he was impressed by UMD’s mettle Nov. 1 -- and the team’s progress overall.
“This win [over PSU] is a little different, because it shows guys [recruits] around here that you can represent Maryland, you can play at Maryland, and then you can go beat a team like Penn State on the road,” said Ellis, who currently holds offers from UMD, Rutgers, UVA, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. “There’s a lot of guys [from the DMV] that are getting looked at by Maryland and Penn State, and with Maryland winning, it shows [the Terps] can get it done. To see [the Terps] win in that environment means something to me.”
Ellis sat with both the receiver Diggs and the quarterback Haskins at the game. He said all three elite locals enjoyed the atmosphere and paid close attention to the players they knew from both Maryland and Penn State.
“Trevon and Dwayne, they were talking about how well the DMV was represented at both schools. Like we were talking about Stefon [Diggs], Wes [Brown], guys like that we knew at Maryland, and also Trevor Williams, who we know at Penn State,” Ellis said. “So we were mainly watching and talking about the guys we knew from back home. We didn’t really talk about recruiting or anything like that.”
Maybe not, but Ellis has made it clear in the past how highly he thinks of Maryland. He’s had a relationship with the Terps’ staff since his middle school days, has current teammate and Terps commit Lorenzo Harrison in his ear, and has attended multiple offseason events in College Park, Md. He was most recently at UMD for a summer practice, and wants to return for the Maryland-Michigan State showdown Nov. 15.
“I’m still pretty high on Maryland. With Coach Locksley and the offense, I can see myself fitting in well there. And Coach [Randy] Edsall, he’s done a great job with the program,” Ellis said. “Lo [Harrison], he definitely wants me there with him too. He was just talking to me about that, telling me to get up there with him. I told him I’ve still got to think about some things, but I do like Maryland.”
Since Ellis hasn’t been able to venture out this fall, he would like to take several offseason visits to get a feel for other colleges besides UMD and PSU. He also wants to see what suitors emerge, since he’s put together a strong junior campaign.
Ellis said assistants from places like Nebraska, Georgia, UCLA, Oregon, Penn State and Alabama have been in touch, while he’s maintained contact with current offerees Rutgers, UMD, Virginia Tech, WVU and UVA.
“I’d definitely like to get the Nebraska offer; I think they’re real close,” Ellis said. “And UCLA would be huge too. I think Georgia might be close to offering, and that would be another good one to have.”
In terms of trips, Ellis said he’ll probably hit Rutgers and Va Tech next. He was actually supposed to be at RU Nov. 1, but opted for the UMD-PSU game instead.
“Right now I have to see some of these schools, because I just don’t know where I’m at yet,” Ellis said. “I’m thinking by like the middle of my senior year I’ll be ready to make a decision, but probably not before then. I’ve got some things to think about.”
Ellis Takes In UMD-PSU, Talks Up Terps
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