St. Pius X defensive back Nicholas Ruffin may not be a household name just yet, but it isn't because big-time programs don't know about him.
The star junior already has a dozen offers, and is being recruited by some of the top programs from a number of different BCS conferences.
On Friday, however, Ruffin's latest offer came from a school that is right down the road, and it was an offer he didn't exactly see coming.
"I was actually just walking out of class," said Ruffin. "Coach (Paul Standard) called me down to the athletic center to speak with Coach (Bryan) McClendon so I could just bump into him. He talked to me briefly, and said that he wanted my coach present as well as me present and said that they would like to officially extend an offer to me. It was a special moment for me."
The UGA offer came as the 12th for Ruffin, but getting an offer from the states flagship program, an SEC program, has some extra meaning to the two-way standout.
"I feel like I'm starting to earn that respect now," he said. "For most of my high school career, I've been kind of a low flying a guy that is under the radar. No one really noticed who I was, so to get that offer from the home state team gives me a little more notoriety. It really means, for me, that I still have to work hard. I still have one more season to play. It is nowhere near over by any stretch of the imagination. I just have to work harder.
Ruffin admits that the Georgia offer comes a tad later than he would like, but he still holds the Bulldog program in high regard.
"Georgia is a good school academically as well as athletically. It's a premiere school in the SEC and has been for quite some time now," said Ruffin. "I kind of feel like the offer is a little late, but it is still an honor. It doesn't change anything for me, or how I feel about the school or coaching staff. It's the hometown team. I feel like it is a tad late as I'm going to my senior year and it throws off my recruitment a little and the schools I have to consider now, but it is always great to have options. I like Georgia, though. I'll probably try to get down there during the summer or a couple of practices in the spring."
The Bulldogs offered Ruffin as a cornerback, and while a number of programs like him at the same position, some schools are looking at him to play on the other side of the ball.
At this point in his career, the Atlanta native definitely has a preference.
"Some are recruiting me at corner and others at wide receiver. To be honest, I feel most comfortable at wide receiver because it was the position I was first put in," said Ruffin. "I didn't play corner until my sophomore year and that was my first year ever playing that position. I definitely think playing receiver helps me at cornerback. As a former wide receiver, you get to know what the routes are and the tendencies of a wide receiver like how they line up and what they do. It's almost like a cheat sheet when I'm out there."
The Peach State junior took a number of visits during his junior season, and even as offers continue to roll in, he already has a few schools that are standing out.
"There are a lot of schools that stand out to me but LSU definitely stands out," he said. "My family is from Louisiana, and stuff, and growing up in that area, you become kind of a fan of LSU. Vanderbilt, I took a couple of visits up there during my junior season, and I enjoyed my time up there. It was probably one of my favorite visits along with Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia Tech, Florida State, and North Carolina. All those schools impressed me. I had a great time on every single one of those visits."
Most juniors are just getting started with the recruiting process in January of their junior season, but not Ruffin.
He already has a tentative timeline to which he hopes to adhere.
"Hopefully, I will know before the start of my seniors season," he said. "The week before my senior season is when I plan to commit. If it doesn't work out, we will see. That is just the timeline I have set for myself."
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