Lloyd C. Bird (Chesterfield, Va.) athlete Jalen Elliott has spent practically half his life in Maryland’s backyard. The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder has plenty of relatives in the Upper Marlboro, Md., area, and growing up he said he’d visit them every other weekend. On top of that, Elliott, who also plays basketball, participated in several AAU tournaments and camps at Maryland’s Xfinity Center.
On April 4, however, the dynamic safety/receiver got his first taste of the football side of things in College Park, Md.
“Maryland is kind of like a second home for me. Since I was born, I’ve been up there, playing [basketball] as much up in that area as I did down here in Richmond,” said Elliott, who has offers from N.C. State, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Marshall and ODU. “But [April 4] was the first time I went there as a football recruit, and I liked it a lot. The facilities are really nice, all the coaches are down to earth and I like the plan they have for next year and in the future. It was a really good time.”
Elliott said he primarily spoke to his recruiter, Chad Wilt, and receivers’ coach Keenan McCardell during his stay. He said Wilt has been in touch for a good while now, and the two have a developing rapport.
“Coach Wilt is a really cool guy and someone I can relate easily to,” Elliott said. “He was telling me that [Maryland is] recruiting me, he really likes my film and he wants to stay in touch. He was saying how I’m a scholarship player, and [the staff] is going to decide whether to offer me as a safety or a receiver. [Wilt] said they all watched the film and loved it, but now they just want to see me work out this spring to see where I fit best into what they do. So I’m looking forward to Coach Wilt coming down to my school and getting that offer, for sure.
“And Coach McCardell, he’s a real cool guy too. He was saying how he wants to watch me workout, but he wants me on the good side of the ball (laughs). He wants to keep me away from Coach Wilt and the defense (laughs).”
The Virginia product said one of his favorite parts of his visit was seeing the Under Armour influence on the school. Elliott said he’d never seen “so much Under Armour stuff everywhere.”
“The locker room, the weight room, all of that is Under Armour. And just learning about how Under Armour has helped the school grow, and with the new facilities they’re building, that’s really cool. I think that’s huge for Maryland,” Elliott said. “The only thing is I didn’t get to try on any of those jerseys (laughs). I got to get back up there and get into all that [gear].”
Elliott enjoyed watching the Terps scrimmage as well. He didn’t pay attention to one particular coach or area, but said the team as a whole performed well.
“They looked good on both sides of the ball,” Elliott said. “It’s only April so of course there’s work to do. There were good plays and bad plays, but the guys are coming along. I liked what the coaches were doing and how the players were responding.”
Elliott went on to say if Maryland did eventually pull through with an offer, he would “definitely” consider it.
“Of course,” he said. “It would be my first Big Ten offer, and like I said, Maryland is like a second home to me. It’s a great campus, a great program and they have a really good communications program too, which I want to major in. [The Terps] would definitely be in the running.”
In addition to UMD, Elliott has seen Va Tech, Wake Forest, NC State, ODU, UNC and Penn State. Next, he’s visiting Tech for the fourth time April 7, followed by State for the second time April 9. He has no other planned trips after that, but will hit the campuses where “[college] coaches really want me up there.”
At this time, Elliott has no stated leaders, although it’s clear the Hokies have his eye.
He does not have a definite timetable for selecting a school, although ideally he’d like to end his recruitment before his senior season.
“I kind of want to decide in the summer so I can get this over with,” said Elliott, who mentioned every school recruiting him wants him as an ‘athlete’ and will decide his position later. “But if I can’t make up my mind by August, I’ll put recruiting aside and then revisit it after my senior season so I can fully concentrate on helping my team win another state championship.”
Last year at Lloyd C. Bird, Elliott played quarterback and cornerback, though he was primarily under center. He ended up passing for 1,800 yards, rushing for 300 and producing 32 combined touchdowns (25 passing). On defense, Elliott recorded 27 tackles and three interceptions, helping his squad to a class 5A state title.
Elliott Impressed With UMD, Closing On Offer
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