Michigan Visit Resonates with Rugamba

2016 Naperville (Ill.) Central WR Emmanuel Rugamba got his first taste of big-time college football on a visit to Michigan recently. GoBlueWolverine caught up with the rising sophomore to reflect upon the experience, discuss his interest in the Maize & Blue, and more.

Naperville (Ill.) Central wide receiver Emmanuel Rugamba turned in a breakout sophomore campaign last fall, complete with several notable achievements.  After helping his team win the Illinois Class 8A state championship, Rugamba was named to the NSCA Tom Lemming All-Area team.

“I was able to contribute to my team a good amount and I felt like I was a good part of our state championship this year,” said Rugamba.  “I was the third leading receiver in receptions and yards, and fifth in all-purpose yards.  So for a sophomore I think I did very well.”

Rugamba brought flexibility to the Naperville Central lineup.  While most of his reps were from the slot last year, he showed the versatility to line up outside the formation as well.

“We had two big impact players that were (a) senior and (a) junior, so I did slot,” Rugamba said.  I like going down the field a lot, but I can see myself in the future at slot or at wideout.  I feel comfortable in both positions.”

“I like going up against linebackers.  I think it’s easier because they’re not as quick as corners.  Same goes for when safeties come up. I like to either run across the middle or up the seams to make big plays.”

Rugamba shows on tape that his long strides and length at 6-0, 170 pounds combine to help create separation on down-field routes.  When defenders are in close pursuit, however, Rugamba also has the presence to extend his hands toward the football and secure receptions quickly.  While those skills have caught the attention of several colleges, the majority of his interest thus far has come from the Michigan Wolverines. 

“I just went on a visit actually,” said Rugamba.  “It went really well and I really liked it up there.  We went and the head coach talked to us and so did coach Heck.”

As the wide receiver coach and recruiting coordinator, Jeff Hecklinski played a large role in Rugamba’s visit which included a trip around the football facilities and the weight room.  Newly-named safeties coach Curt Mallory was also a consistent presence. 

“We broke up into the position groups,” recalled Rugamba.  “There weren’t that many receivers, a total of five, so we got to talk a lot.  [Hecklinski] basically told us that we we’re here for a reason and we’re some of the best kids in the country.  Coach Heck and coach Mallory seemed like they had the most interest in me.  They were always in the room and talked to me. Coach Heck invited me to put on a jersey when I was in the locker room.”

While other schools will certainly begin to show interest, Rugamba is looking for an offer from Miami specifically. Rugamba is poised to gain traction this offseason with the help of Core 6 Athletes.  A big year on the camp circuit will help accomplish his goal.

“I’m working with Core 6,” said Rugamba.  “Paul [Szczesny] is a great guy.  He’s really good at helping kids out and finding schools.  Core 6 is definitely one of the best in the country.”

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