"They're high schoolers. High school's never easy for anybody," Reed said. "I wanted to make sure they felt at home."

More than anything, the brothers leaned on each other.

"If Reggie made a bad play, Marquis was there to pick him up. If Marquis made a bad play, Reggie was there to pick him up," Franklin offensive coordinator Ryan Hain said.

The way it was on the field was the way it had been in the household.


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"We're family, we stick together," Reggie Ellis Sr. said. "When things are going rough, it's rough for everybody. When things are prospering, it's good for everybody."

Their time in the spotlight indeed came during their senior year at Franklin, and they served as examples on the team.

"They allowed our younger players to really learn from them and [see] what it takes to be a high-level football player," Franklin head coach Anthony Burgos said. "All around, they've been a tremendous asset to the program."

When they began visiting colleges, the brothers started wondering what life would be like if they were separated.

"The whole time, I'm thinking, well, my parents have to decide what game to go to," Reggie Ellis said about the possibility of playing for separate colleges. "What if I played here, and I want my brother to come see me play?"

Eventually, when one brother was called out of class to meet with a college coach, the other was as well.

"We told the coaches, 'It's either you get both of us, or you don't get one of us at all,' " Reggie Ellis said.

Burgos said the brothers could leave Shepherd with the same influence they left at Franklin.

"Those two right there, I think they're gonna be a great asset to Shepherd," he said. "I think they're higher-level players than Shepherd, but that's just where they are."

Asked about their future at Shepherd, they look at each other, knowing they've made it together before.

"I just look at it like it happened for a reason," Marquis Ellis said.

sboster@baltsun.com

twitter.com/SethBoster

2013 Big 33 Classic

When: Saturday

Time: 7:06 p.m.