For recruits that achieve at least a three-star grade, they know that they will have a public chance to announce their college choice in front of friends and family whether that be at their school, online, or at a local TV studio. For some of these players, it may be their last time in the spotlight, but it is just the beginning for other prominent recruits.
Today is that day for four-star WR Tino Ellis who is set to make his announcement on Comcast Sportsnet in the Baltimore-Washington D.C. area. For many diehard college football fans in that region, the TV will likely be watching and waiting eagerly to see which school Ellis picks largely because two of the finalists are Virginia Tech and Maryland.
At one point, Ellis was down to a list of six schools, but has seemed to eliminate West Virginia, Rutgers, Kentucky, and Nebraska to cut the list to Virginia Tech and Maryland. Ellis is currently a unanimous four-star recruit along with being among the top 10 Maryland recruits by ESPN, 247 Sports, and Rivals.
Ellis has been a highly-coveted target that has received 13 offers so far, 12 of which come from schools in the Power 5 conferences. Ten of Ellis’s 13 offers have come from schools in the ACC or Big 10 with West Virginia, Kentucky, and Old Dominion being the three schools not from those to conferences to offer the wide receiver from Hyattsville, Maryland.
Now, let’s take a look at the odds of the teams in the hunt for WR Tino Ellis.
Are they finalists? (West Virginia, Rutgers, Kentucky, Nebraska): <1%
As we mentioned above, Ellis did at one point tweet out a picture with these four schools included along with Virginia Tech and Maryland.
— Rob Carlin (@RobCarlinCSN) July 29, 2015
Something crazy would have to happen for one of these four schools to have even a chance, but recruiting can throw some wild twists and turns. However, fans of these four schools that live in an area that could watch Ellis’s commitment shouldn’t watch if they think their school has a chance.
Co-Favorite Virginia Tech: 50%
There is no doubt that this is just about a toss-up between the Hokies and Terrapins, which has seemed to be the case throughout the process. However, one of these schools will not get Tino Ellis, and every little connection could make a big difference in this decision.
One of the best factors for the Hokies is the fact that they need wide receivers with the third and fourth wide receiver spots likely to be very open for competition for the 2016 season, especially with no one really claiming those jobs right now. Even with three wide receivers committed, Ellis definitely could be a guy that plays early for the Hokies as the third WR.
Ellis also attends DeMatha Catholic High School, which is also where Cam Phillips played at before coming to the Hokies. Having a former DeMatha Catholic wide receiver on the roster will definitely help, especially Phillips was able to start as a freshman despite not being as highly-touted coming out of DeMatha as Ellis is right now.
The Hokies also have a significant family connection to Ellis with senior DB Donovan Riley who is a cousin of the four-star wide receiver. Riley may be able to help make the final sell on the Hokies to Ellis though the fact that Riley and Ellis will never play together could limit the impact of this family connection.
The uncertainty surrounding the long-term future of Frank Beamer and the out-of-state factor definitely hurt the Hokies in this recruiting battle. However, Virginia Tech has an easier route to the College Football Playoff through the ACC Coastal along with having a great fan base that makes Lane Stadium one of the toughest places to play in college football.
Co-Favorite Maryland: 50%
Randy Edsall and the Maryland Terrapins have made a big push to try to bring the top recruits in Maryland to College Park. So far, the Terps have done that in getting four-star QB Dwayne Haskins and four-star OLB Keandre Jones.
Maryland also has commitments from two of Ellis’s teammates in four-star WR Darryl Turner, and three-star RB Lorenzo Harrison. This type of immediate connection definitely helps raise the comfort level for Ellis though having Phillips prove that a DeMatha player can be successful at Virginia Tech may still keep the DeMatha connections in the Hokies’ favor.
The Terps are also quite young and inexperienced at the wide receiver position, which opens the door for Ellis to compete immediately for a starting job potentially. This is definitely an advantage for Maryland, especially since Phillips and Isaiah Ford are very solid in being the starting wide receivers for the Hokies.
The Terps have a very experienced recruiter in Mike Locksley who is the primary recruiter for Haskins and Turner along with previously recruiting Stefon Diggs and five-star OT Damian Prince. Zohn Burden has shown plenty of promise as a recruiter, but the experience of Locksley is an advantage on paper in this very tight recruiting battle.
There is no doubt that I may go back and forth on this prediction especially since I don’t have any subscriptions to the recruiting website boards, but the Terps have seemed to gain momentum and are the trending team.
Hokie fans have plenty of reason to still have hope and I hope this prediction is wrong but right now, the Terps seem like Ellis’s choice. However, his commitment is still hours away.
3:05PM Update: The Hokies still may have a chance at Ellis, but it seems almost certain that he will commit to Maryland this evening as listed on message boards at VTScoop.com.