Jim Hawkins/Inside Carolina

QB Jace Ruder is Closer to a Decision

The Kansas quarterback had a "blast" at Fedora's Freak Show on Saturday.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- Jace Ruder finished up a crucial three-school visit tour by spending the weekend at North Carolina.

"I'm closer to a decision," Ruder said shortly after Fedora's Freak Show. "I've seen some places. I've seen what it's like here in the southeast; I've never been here until now. So, being able to really feel what it's like is a big thing for me."

Beginning on June 14, Ruder, a 6-foot-2, 203-pound quarterback from Norton (Kan.), visited Florida State followed by Georgia, and then UNC.

Ruder isn't sure of his next step. At the time of the interview, he had a few hours left in Chapel Hill and said it was still a possibility he'd depart a Tar Heel (that obviously didn't happen). In the meantime, his focus was finishing out his UNC visit.

"If more visits are needed, more visits are needed," Ruder said. "It's just going to be a gut feeling -- it's hard to explain."

Ruder says Georgia and UNC are battling it out for his commitment. He added that they are co-leaders and currently on equal footing.

"The one thing I really like about North Carolina is the smaller town feeling -- it's not as big," Ruder said. "And the coaching staff. It's a family atmosphere. I was talking to Mitch [Trubisky] about it and he said a big thing that drew him here was the family atmosphere and I can definitely see why."

Accompanied by his parents, Ruder's UNC visit began on Friday and concluded on Sunday. The stay revolved around Saturday's Fedora's Freak Show.

"I had a lot of fun," Ruder said. "There were a lot of guys out here, just top recruits for North Carolina. It was just a blast. There was just an intensity in the air and the coaches and players were pumping it up."  

Ruder's UNC stay also included campus tours, meetings with academic advisers, hanging out with players, and members of UNC's coaching staff.

"I beat [Offensive Quality Control] 'Big Play Clay' [Browning] in ping-pong pretty seriously," Ruder said. "You can ask him about that."

Throughout the weekend, Ruder had meetings and countless conversation with Larry Fedora and quarterbacks coach Keith Heckendorf, who is leading Ruder's recruitment.

"Their biggest message is they want me to choose a place where I can call home based on my decisions," Ruder said. "And they very well communicated with me what they see in me. They told me they love my athleticism, my ability to throw the ball, my ability to get out of the pocket, and -- some could say most importantly -- my characteristics.

"I love their transparency -- they're just going to tell me how it is. They're not going to try to recruit me with big things, like other schools do. They're going to tell me the truth about everything, because they're biggest thing is growing young men."

A couple of days prior to Ruder's Chapel Hill arrival, UNC picked up a commitment from four-star quarterback Tyler Shough.

"I don't care," Ruder said. "I'm not afraid to compete. I'll come in and put a five-star kid in front of me, I'll compete with him and beat him out."

As a junior, Ruder completed over 50-percent of his passes for 1,598 yards and 14 touchdowns with eight interceptions. He also led Norton High with 16 rushing touchdowns, while accumulating 746 yards on the ground. 

Scout.com's Michael Clark contributed to this report.


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