2018 QB DeJuan Ellis hadn't made the trip back to Virginia Tech since he de- then re-committed to the Hokies in the span of a few days in early May — accordingly, he tried to make the visit a special one.
The coveted Maryland prospect had summer classes preventing him from making it to the Hokies' Blacksburg Bash BBQ for recruits on July 22, but he figured he could still make it for the team's prospect camp on July 23. He checked in ahead of time with director for player personnel Chuck Cantor and safeties coach Galen Scott to make sure he had the green light to come down, but he didn't tell anyone else on the staff about his plans.
Accordingly, he gave Justin Fuente quite the surprise.
"They weren't expecting me, so Coach Fuente saw me and he threw his hands up like, 'Woah!" Ellis told The Key Play.
Ellis's unannounced trip to Blacksburg was surely a welcome one for Fuente.
The McDonogh School product first committed to the Hokies last August before a three day period from May 2 to May 4 when he briefly wavered on his Tech pledge before ultimately consulting with the coaches and re-affirming his commitment.
Although a mid-July Maryland visit may give interested parties, specifically those clad in maroon and orange, pause, Ellis says that College Park trip was simply one of convenience, and the Hokies don't have anything to worry about.
"I'm not looking around anywhere, I'm sold on Tech," Ellis said. "I visited Maryland, but that's just because it's like 20 minutes away from me. I'm with Tech."
Nevertheless, the Hokies worked to make Ellis feel welcome on the impromptu visit. He got to watch the team's Sunday camp, chatting with Fuente all the while.
"I didn't really do anything, just watching the camp, talked with Coach Fuente," Ellis said. "Just watched the camp really. Just chilling, nothing major."
Offensive coordinator Brad Cornelsen also sat him down for a quick check-in, and Ellis says the Hokies certainly seem enamored with the work he's put in with his Owings Mills, Md. program. The promising 5'11", 160-pound signal caller is rated a 3-star dual-threat QB/athlete by the 247Sports Composite and ESPN grades him a 4-star athlete. He regularly posts blazing 40-yard-dash times, even winning the "fastest man" designation at a Northern Virginia Nike camp this spring.
"He said they're preparing me really well, McDonogh's done a great job," Ellis said. "So hopefully the transition will be pretty easy."
But the QB still has plenty of time before he has to grapple with that transition in Blacksburg, though Ellis is hoping that he won't have to wait very long for his next visit to Tech.
Like many D.C.-area prospects, Ellis is planning a trip over to FedExField for Tech's neutral site matchup with West Virginia. But after that, he's hoping to make it down for the Hokies' hottest home game: the Sept. 30 tilt against the defending national champs.
Plenty of Tech recruits and commits are already circling the Clemson game as a prime one to visit for, and with what Ellis has seen from Blacksburg and Lane Stadium already, he expects that it'll be well worth the trip.
"That's gonna be a crazy one," Ellis said. "The fans are gonna be stupid hype. I can't wait."