February 22, 2013

Ruffin left impressed

St. Pius X defensive back Nicholas Ruffin is quick to react on the field.

Off the field, he chooses his words wisely and works hard to think things through before he gives a response.

When reflecting on his visit to Georgia last Saturday, Ruffin did what he normally does when coming to a conclusion.

He spent a great deal of time in thought.

"It went very well," Ruffin said of his visit to the UGA junior day. "The overall impression I got from it was that they are very, very welcoming. They institute a lot of family-aspects in that program and emphasize becoming a man. I really liked that part of it."

The star junior got the star treatment in Athens as he spent quite a bit of time with three different coaches including the Head Honcho himself.

"I spent a lot of time with Coach (Scott) Lakatos," he said. "I talked with Coach (Mark) Richt for a little while, as well as Coach (Bryan) McClendon.

Each coach had a different message for the St. Pius standout.

"Coach McClendon is my recruiting coach and he was just excited I was there and telling me that there are a lot of things that Georgia offers that no one else can with one of those things being SEC football and early playing time," Ruffin said. "On top of that, Coach Lakatos piggy backed off that by saying that the way they run their scheme, a lot of things they do incorporates a lot of defensive backs on defense. That means early playing time for me and showed me how I can be dominant in what they do. Coach Richt just basically told me that I could be in like a Brandon Boykin type of role. I could go both ways if needed. I can do that if need be and that is why they are so interested in me. He also talked about stuff other than the football aspect of it and just me becoming a man and the life aspect of it."

Ruffin, who played wide receiver, running back, cornerback, and safety in his junior season, admits that the chance to play early is something that quickly caught his attention.

"It means a lot," he said. "It means I get to contribute in more than one way. It means I can have a very large impact on the game. A guy that can go both ways is a threat because you don't really know how to game plan for someone like that. It means a lot and I'm excited that I have that option and that opportunity."

Spending time with the coaches and learning that he could have the opportunity to play both ways were both exciting aspects of his trip to the Classic City last weekend, but Ruffin says that it was the attitude and personality of the UGA staff that stood out the most.

"Sincerity (of the coaches)," Ruffin said when asked to name what stood out to him the most about the trip. "The sincerity and their actions as well as their voice and the way they treated their players. They made it a point to interact with every single one of the guys that was there. Also thoroughness. They are very, very thorough on how they handle things. They are about bettering their guys not only as players but as men. They were just very welcoming and very open and share their lives with us. That is what stuck out to me"

The Peach State standout has offers from schools all over the country and in a number of different conferences, but the number of prospects aiming to play in the SEC grows by the year.

While that is something that appeals to Ruffin, it isn't something that will drive his decision.

"I'm quite sure a lot of guys would say that is the one thing they want to do in life," he said. " It is an honor and it is almost like a dream to me still. It means a lot. I would love to play in the SEC and I have thought about it since I was a kid. But don't get me wrong, when it comes to the ACC and Big 10 offers, I still have to consider all my options."

With a number of scholarship offers on the table and more to come, Ruffin says that naming a top school isn't something he can do just yet, but he is working on it.

"I couldn't really name a top school for you right now," Ruffin said. "Things are kind of hectic for me right now. I'm just trying to condense it all into one thing right now. I'm not really sure how I'm going to do it, but I'm trying to get it all done."

Narrowing things won't be easy for the Atlanta native, but there is a good chance it will be easier for him than most.

Anyone that knows Ruffin knows that he will put plenty of thought into it.

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