Hatchling Huddle is a recurring series where we talk to high school players recruited by Maryland or coaches who have Maryland recruits.
Three-star offensive guard Ellis McKennie is the state of Maryland's ninth-highest rated player in the 2015 recruiting class and 26th-highest rated player in the country at his position, according to the 247sports composite. He claims offers from Maryland and Rutgers so far, but has also received interest from Northwestern, Penn State, Vanderbilt, and Virginia Tech.
But after an unofficial visit to College Park on April 10, McKennie said that Maryland is at the top of that list of schools when it comes to which ones he is most interested in.
"Maryland is my number one right now," McKennie said in a phone interview with Testudo Times. "Everyone else would just be mish-mashed together."
The 6-foot-3, 285-pounder out of McDonogh said that Maryland is the only school he has visited so far this spring, but that it went well and he received good vibes from the coaches that he met with.
"It went really well actually," McKennie said. "I got to see a whole other side of the campus that really helped put things together for me.
"I was with Ryan Steinberg and coach [Keith] Dudzinski, and then I got to have a one-on-one meeting with coach [Greg Studrawa], and then we talked for about a half-hour with coach [Randy] Edsall."
McKennie said that he and the coaches didn't talk a lot about Xs and Os, but that they talked mostly about how Maryland is a good fit for a local kid like him.
"[The coaches] said how Maryland is the school for me and it's the right spot for what I want to study," he said. "Because I want to be a lawyer and D.C. and Baltimore are good spots for that. They also were saying how if I have to go home and see my family I can do that easily.
"I liked them all, they were all really welcoming and made me feel like Maryland was the place that I needed to go and where I was wanted. It was a really good feeling that they gave off."
The stay-at-home movement, which has been a focus point in recruiting recent classes, is also something that McKennie said has been brought up in his conversations with Maryland coaches.
"I feel like in this state there's a huge crop of talent," McKennie said. "And if we all came together and came to Maryland, we could be a really good team."
One of the other local players who the Terps are trying to sell the stay-at-home movement to is McKennie's current teammate at McDonogh, inside linebacker Wyatt Cook.
"[Cook and I] discuss it here and there," McKennie said. "Neither of us are very close to making a decision right now but I am sure when it gets closer to that time it is something that we will talk about."
McKennie alluded to the fact that he is not too close to making a commitment but did say that he is hoping to get it done before his senior football season.
"I'm thinking during the summer right now," McKennie said. "I mean that could change any second, but that's what I'm aiming for."
Looking at McKennie's highlight reel, he never seems to stop driving his feet or the defender into the ground until the play is completely over, which is exactly what you want your offensive lineman to do. Looks like he plays with enough tenacity and physicality off the line and could help the Terps transition into the gritty Big Ten.