“It’s definitely a stress reliever,” he said. “Seeing a bunch of kids that you grew up with getting offers left and right, to be able to pick up my first one, it was definitely a confidence booster.”
The 6-foot, 170-pound junior used that confidence to spur him into his first summer camp experiences, as he went to Northwestern, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State and has plans to stop at Ohio State.
”It definitely helped me a lot to come back to football now at the school,” he said. “It helped me a lot competition-wise. You get a group of guys and a group of DBs that are a lot more athletic than you see everyday at your high school.”
At Michigan State, Rugamba said the competition with the defensive backs was the best he experienced.
”They were some big guys at corner, which was a lot different than you usually see at some colleges,” he said. “The Michigan State camp was definitely a big-time camp for me this summer.”
He said he felt he showed best with his route running and that the feedback indicated the same.
”Even though I didn’t get some balls in 7 on 7, I feel like much of the time I was open and some coaches were taking notice of it,” he said. “Coming back to the huddle, some would say they saw me get open.”
Rugamba’s next stop after Michigan State was Michigan, a school he had much more familiarity with going into the camp.
With visits under his belt for a basketball game and with Core6, he was a known face around Ann Arbor.
”When going around the facility, I knew coaches left and right and I was more familiar with the facilities,” he said. “East Lansing, that was my first time going up there. Michigan, I had been up there a few times. I worked out at DB at Michigan, too – I did both.”
He got similar feedback at Michigan as he did at Michigan State, with a focus on what to improve on as he goes into his junior season at Naperville Central.
“Probably to fight through contact because all the camps you go to, you’ve got DBs that just mug you,” he said. “The second thing would be to always stay low to the ground. Every camp that I went to, every receiver coach was commenting on how sometimes I would come up in my cuts, so learning to always stay low.
”It makes it more efficient when running routes.”
“I think it’s going to make a huge difference because during the offseason last year, the drop off from where I was and where I came into the season was a huge difference then,” he said. “Now, I have carried it on from this summer and the offseason. I feel like my game will just increase that much more, especially in the mental part of the game and being a student of the game.”