Five for Ruff

Norfolk, Va., product Klinton Ruff has five written scholarship offers in hand from Connecticut, East Carolina, Oklahoma, Virginia and Virginia Tech and has roughly a dozen other programs showing him significant interest. Ruff will begin researching programs next week and start to plan official visits for the fall from there.

Klinton Ruff was a force in the middle on defensive last season, notching 58 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and 12 sacks last season for Norview High School while earning first-team All-District honors. Ruff already has picked up offers from Connecticut, East Carolina, Oklahoma, Virginia and Virginia Tech and has interest from many others. While he has not yet begun to research the programs that are showing him interest, that will be something he will remedy after he returns from vacation this week.

"Right now I have those five offers and my head coach is also a very good family friend, so he is actually handling most of the recruiting activity for me and talking to coaches from all of these schools more then I do," Ruff explained. "I know that Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Maryland, Buffalo, Illinois and Syracuse have also been in contact about me as a defensive tackle and Boston College and Clemson like me at offensive guard."

While Virginia and Virginia Tech are always extremely tough to beat for in-state prospects, Oklahoma and Connecticut both stand a solid shot of landing the 6-foot-3, 294-pound defensive tackle as distance means little to him in comparison to academic excellence and graduation rates.

"Head Coach (Bob) Stoops from Oklahoma had come out to my school and talked to my head coach back when we were in school and then they sent me some tapes to record my highlights on for them," Ruff said. "I sent them back my highlight film and then a few months ago I got a scholarship offer in the mail from them, so I guess they liked what they had to see. I have never been to Norman and don't know much about the program other then what I have seen on television, so I would like to take an official visit there this fall and when I get home from the vacation I am on I'll be looking into their graduation rates, especially of African-American students as I am one. Academics will definitely be playing a huge role in my decision and I plan to major in either kinesiology or sports medicine as I would like to open my own gym when I am done with college."

"I didn't realize when I watched Oklahoma this season that I would ever be receiving an offer to play there, so I didn't really spend much time focusing on their defensive line play particularly," Ruff added. "I do like their aggressive style of play as they really fly to the ball out there and have a lot of playmakers on both sides of the ball. They also send a lot of defensive linemen to the NFL which is very important though. They have a great tradition of winning on the football field, come to play every Saturday and are always in the mix for a national championship, but I need to research them academically in terms of graduation rates, overall standing and what not. Distance won't play a factor in my decision at all, so I'm not worried about how far away a school is."

Connecticut is another program that has been showing interest in the defensive lineman and also sent their head coach out to Norview to meet with Ruff and his coaching staff.

"Head Coach (Randy) Edsall came down to the school and talked to my head coach for quite some time this year, so I came down and shook his hand to meet him and just say hello, but I had class to get back to, so we didn't talk for too long," Ruff stated. "I believe my recruiting coach is Hank Hughes and he comes off as a tough coach who I definitely wouldn't mind playing for. The focus they put on academics there would be a big plus for me looking at them and all I really know other then that about Connecticut is that it is really cold there. I like the cold, but I don't know how cold I like it if you know what I mean, so we will see when and if I take a visit there. Like I said, I am on vacation now, so when I get home it is time to break out the books and start digging deep into each one of these programs and their academic policies and standing."

Prior to last marking period, Ruff held a core GPA of 2.48 which will be higher when last marking period is added on and did score a 1030 on his SAT, however he plans to take it again sometime this fall. At this point Ruff has put no timeframe on a decision, so expect a good amount of activity and feedback from him on his suitors over the next several weeks as he has an opportunity to look each one over and evaluate where they may stand in his recruiting.

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