Four-star DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) receiver Tino Ellis is closing in on his July 31 college decision date, and the 6-foot-1, 185-pounder already knows exactly which school he’ll choose. Not that he’s about to spoil the surprise.
“Oh, I definitely know where I’m going,” laughed Ellis, who will announce on Comcast Sports Net at 6 p.m. at the network's studio in Bethesda, Md. “Nothing can really change my mind right now. I’m pretty much set. I’m ready to make my decision on the 31st."
Ellis continues to insist there are six contenders in play: Maryland, Virginia Tech, Rutgers, West Virginia, Kentucky and Nebraska. But he’s hinted time and again the Terps and Hokies sat atop his leaderboard, the receiver waffling back and forth between the two.
“I mean, Maryland and Virginia Tech are kind of standing out, but I’m still open with the six I have. I haven’t really narrowed it down and probably won’t before I decide,” Ellis said. “So on the 31st I’ll pick one of the six.”
The DeMatha wideout was supposed to return to Tech one last time this weekend, but on July 23 he and his family opted against the trip. That means his most recent visits were to College Park, Md., UMD getting final dibs.
“The Tech trip isn’t going to happen. I’m not going to be able to make it,” Ellis said. “I’ve seen what I need to see there, and I don’t really need to get back. I have some other things going on this weekend, so I won’t be getting down there.”
Ellis won’t be returning to Maryland or any of his other contenders prior to his decision date either. He’s visited four of the six previously, although he’s yet to see Kentucky or Nebraska.
“Maryland, I’ve seen pretty much everything there. It’s right down the street, it’s my hometown school,” Ellis said. “Maryland has been on me real hard, real hard. They’ve made it known they want me there. I’m always in touch with Coach [Mike] Locksley, and I have a great relationship with Coach [Keenan] McCardell and Coach [Randy] Edsall too. And now Cory Robinson is up there as like the [Director of Player Personnel], and he’s my guy. Cory and I go way back, so that’s great that he’s at Maryland now.”
The Terps’ coaches aren’t the only ones in his ear about College Park, Md. Teammates/Maryland commits D.J. Turner and LoLo Harrison have been harping on UMD for months, while quarterback pledge Dwayne Haskins (Bullis/Potomac, Md.) has been relentless in his pursuit.
“Dwayne, D.J., LoLo, they’re hitting me up all the time, all the time,” Ellis said. “Dwayne’s telling me we can be a great tandem at Maryland, and Lo and D.J. are saying how great the offense will be if we’re all there making plays. So that sounds really good, and it’s something I’m thinking a lot about.”
Ellis wasn’t finished talking up the Terps. He went on to praise the school’s location near his home, the upcoming facility upgrades, the Under Armour connection and the academics.
“And Maryland, they were like my first offer. They’ve been on me forever,” Ellis said. “I mean, that means a lot, that they wanted me before I got all these other offers. Coach Locksley, he’s known me since like the eighth grade. I’ve just always been around the program. It’s a great place to be.”
Apparently his parents think so too. The Ellises recently trekked over to College Park for a meeting with the staff and academics advisors.
“My parents love Maryland. The academic part of it really stands out, how it’s a great education and the coaches really push classroom work there,” Ellis said. “They really like what Maryland is about.”
Ellis offered up some comments on his other contenders as well.
Virginia Tech: Tech has been on me hard. They’ve been after me for a long time, and I have a great relationship with the coaches. It’s a great school, I really like it down there, and my [former teammate] Cam Phillips has been trying to get me to go there. They’re doing big things at Tech.
Rutgers: Rutgers has always been high for me. The offensive coordinator there, I have a real good relationship with him. I’ve visited there a good amount, and I like the atmosphere and the feeling around the program. It’s a good school too.
West Virginia: WVU was like my second offer; they’ve been after me for a long time. The coaches there have been pushing for me, and I have a close relationship with Jordan Adams, my cousin. I’ve been down there before, and it’s a great atmosphere for football.
Kentucky: I haven’t visited Kentucky, but it’s great SEC competition and they need receivers. It’s a good system for a receiver to be in. The coaches have been talking to me, and I have a good relationship with them.
Nebraska: It’s a Big Ten school, which is the conference I’d love to play in. And they need receivers and safeties. They’re actually looking at me at safety too, which is cool.
Ellis' Mind Is Set, Previews Decision
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