The Virginia Tech Hokies are putting together a solid recruiting class that received two huge additions in June in QB Joshua Jackson and WR Eric Kumah who are both rated as four-star recruits by ESPN. However, the Hokies have the potential to add some more top recruits, mainly from outside of Virginia.
One of those players is four-star WR Tino Ellis from DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Maryland.
Ellis is scheduled to make an announcement on where he will be playing college football at on July 31st. Ellis is seen as one of the top 10 players in Maryland and a four-star recruit by ESPN, 247 Sports, and Rivals. Ellis is also ranked as a top 300 player and top 50 wide receiver by Rivals and 247 Sports while ESPN has him as the 65th best wide receiver even with his four-star grade.
So far, Ellis has received 13 offers, but the Hokies lead a group of six schools that the DeMatha Catholic wide receiver is focused on with the other four being Maryland, West Virginia, Rutgers, Kentucky, and Nebraska. The Wildcats, Cornhuskers, and Mountaineers seem to be the longshots of this group of six schools, but Rutgers and especially Maryland have good chances to get Ellis.
Rutgers is looking to build a recruiting pipeline in the Mid-Atlantic with Ellis being a major piece of that in the Class of 2016. Rutgers has two low three-star recruits currently committed from the state of Maryland, but Ellis would be a big pickup to help build that pipeline.
Maryland has been making a strong push in their own state this recruiting cycle with the Terrapins already getting some of the best from their home state including QB Dwayne Haskins. Randy Edsall recently received a contract extension, which will be valuable in recruiting especially with some of the past rumors before 2014 about him heading towards the hot seat in College Park.
The Terrapins have lost some momentum in their own state after Penn State beat the Terrapins and Hokies out for four-star DT Ellison Jordan. The Terrapins know that missing out on Tino Ellis would hurt their recruiting momentum for top players in Maryland and Washington D.C.. Maryland will make the strongest push they can all the way up to Ellis’s decision on July 31st.
The Hokies are the frontrunners for Ellis, but the Hokies still need to make a strong push to beat out Maryland and Rutgers. The Hokies are in a good position to give Ellis the opportunity to play early, following the examples of Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips in 2014.
One critical point that could make the difference for the Hokies is the fact that Phillips also played at DeMatha Catholic. Having someone like Phillips who has gotten significant early playing time at the same position from the same high school as Tino Ellis has to be a recruiting advantage against the rest of the field.
Phillips could end up being the most valuable recruiter for the Hokies in getting Ellis to join a class that already has wide receivers Eric Kumah and Samuel Denmark committed on full scholarships, and Connor O’Donnell on a grayshirt. Having three wide receivers already committed will likely be used against the Hokies, but the Phillips connection will likely be very valuable.
With the decision still four weeks away, the Hokies are still the favorites to get Tino Ellis, but it will be an intense battle between Virginia Tech, Maryland, Rutgers, West Virginia, Nebraska, and Kentucky. All six schools have a shot, and there are some twists and turns that could still happen in Ellis’s recruitment.