Bethel (Hampton, VA) defensive end prospect Chris Ellis is making his first official visit this weekend to Virginia Tech, and he is looking forward to the opportunity. It is the beginning of what promises to be a long recruiting competition for the outstanding prospect.
“Definitely, I’m real excited to see what they have to offer,” said Ellis, who is a consensus Top 5 ranked player in the state of Virginia.
The Hokies were the obvious front runner in this recruiting race a few months ago, however Ellis now wants to wait until signing day to make his collegiate choice.
“I didn’t think I would wait at first, but now I want to,” said Ellis. “The only way I would commit is if everything goes perfect this weekend. But I don’t think I will commit. I plan to wait and take it week to week until signing day. It’s wide open right now.”
Ellis has been busy this fall taking many unofficial visits, mainly to the campuses of Virginia and Virginia Tech. The official visits will give him a chance to see his final five schools in a different light, and will give him a chance to find out where he is comfortable.
“I will be able to see the personalities of the coaches and players on each team,” said Ellis of his official visits. “I want to see if the people have a team attitude. I want to see the campus. I want to go somewhere where I will feel comfortable.”
Following Virginia Tech, Ellis will visit Maryland on January 10, Virginia on January 17, Tennessee on January 24, and NC State on February 1, which is a newly scheduled visit. The consensus is that Ellis will choose between Virginia and Virginia Tech, although Ellis is quick to point out that that may not necessarily be the case.
“It’s most likely between UVa and Virginia Tech,” said Ellis. “But then you also have a program like Tennessee, who is a great program. So it’s hard to tell who it will come down to right now.”
While the Vols have a great track record on the field, both state schools have many things going for them as well.
“I like the direction that Virginia Tech is going,” said Ellis, whose teammate from last year, Jimmy Williams, is a true freshman at Virginia Tech. “I’ve always played the 4-3, and I am comfortable playing the position they want me to play. I could see Tech being in the big game real soon. They are young now, but I think they are right there.
“Virginia also has a young team, and it’s amazing the amount of games that they have won with such a young team. I could come in there and play as a freshman and contribute. Plus the academics are excellent.”
Early on in the recruiting process, one major sticking point for Ellis was the difference in the two defenses. Ellis is used to playing in Tech’s four down linemen set up and had reservations about Virginia’s 3-4 scheme. Since, he has softened his stance, and now could see himself fitting into Virginia’s system.
“At first, I shied away from the 3-4 because I thought you had to be like 300 pounds to be successful,” said Ellis. “But after seeing the 3-4 being successful this year with the guys they had, I could see where I would fit in. Coach Groh sat down with me and showed me how they could use my pass rushing skills. But at the same time, I have always played in a 4-3 like Tech runs, and that’s what’s comfortable.”
Ellis played in the 4-3 for his senior season, however the year didn’t go as he had planned, with a young Bethel squad finishing with a 3-7 mark. Despite the record, Ellis played well considering the consistent double teams he faced week to week.
“The season didn’t go real good,” said Ellis. “It was frustrating, because teams ran away from me, called audibles depending upon where I lined up, and double-teamed me for most of the game. I think I did pretty good, since I ended up with over 80 tackles, 20 of those being in the backfield, and 13 sacks.
“Getting double-teamed was frustrating, but I decided to look at it as a positive. In practice, I played against double-teams because I knew I would see it in the games. It will help me next year.”
Chris Ellis is a major target for both in-state schools, and whichever school lands him will have gotten a great player. While he is open right now, it looks like this battle may come down to the Cavaliers and the Hokies.
With his recruiting process far from over, Ellis does have one thing all set – what his major will be.
“I want to major in Sports Management, because if I can’t be a professional football player, I at least...
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