North Carolina's first uncommitted official visitor of the 2017 cycle is a big one -- figuratively and literally. Cesar Ruiz, the nation's No. 2 center, will make his much anticipated return to Chapel Hill this weekend. The visit will be the first stop of the 6-foot-3, 321-pounder's official visit schedule.
To help with its recruitment of Ruiz, UNC purposely also scheduled Jonah Melton's official visit this weekend. Melton, who like Ruiz is a four-star offensive lineman, is the Tar Heels' longest tenured (he pledged nearly a year ago) and highest ranked (No. 121 overall) commitment. He could have easily taken his UNC official visit the same weekend as the other midterm enrollees, but will instead help add to this class.
As part of their official visit itinerary, Melton and Ruiz will attend UNC's ACC opener against Pittsburgh on Saturday. Joining them in the stands will be a large and impressive list of unofficial visitors.
Following his UNC stay, Ruiz will continue with official visits the weekend of Oct. 1 when he travels to Michigan, his perceived frontrunner. The Wolverines play Wisconsin that Saturday. Ruiz will then officially visit Florida during its homecoming weekend (Oct. 15), which overlaps with the UF-Missouri game. The weekend of Dec. 2, Ruiz will attend the Bedlam Game (Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State) as he makes an official trip to Norman.
Prior to his junior year, Ruiz transferred from Camden (N.J.) High to football factory Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy. Before making the move, he made a couple of brief visits to UNC.
While at Camden High, Ruiz was coached by Melik Brown, who played linebacker at UNC from 2003-05. Also during that time, Ruiz played with Brad Hawkins and Ron Johnson Jr. Both Hawkins and Johnson went on to sign with Michigan (Hawkins failed to qualify and is prepping at Suffield (Conn.) Academy).
Unsurprisingly, Chris Kapilovic has assumed the lead UNC staff role of both aforementioned recruitments.