North Carolina kicker Noel Ruiz visited Happy Valley recently. The class of 2017 prospect has yet to pick up his first offer, but is hearing plenty from Penn State and Maryland.
"I loved it there,” Ruiz said. “Beaver Stadium is the biggest stadium I've ever been in, it's an incredible atmosphere. Coach (Sam) Williams showed me around the facilities and campus. With the facilities expanding, I can't wait to see how it turns out. Campus was beautiful. Everyone around campus was friendly. I'll definitely be back.
"Penn State is my number one school,” he added. “The visit really pushed them ahead of everyone."
During the trip he did not get a chance to speak to head coach James Franklin or special teams coach Charles Huff, but mentioned Franklin would like to speak to him on a future visit. And when might that be?
"I'm going to the July 17 camp,” Ruiz said. “I hope to visit again during the summer before I come to the Ohio State game in October.
"I think if I perform to my abilities during camp, an offer from Penn State could come,” he added. “If it does come there is a good chance I would commit on the spot — even though my parents will want me thinking about it — but PSU is where I want to go."
Ruiz said he is visiting Maryland this weekend, and North Carolina and Alabama in the coming weeks. He also intends to get to Virginia Tech this summer.
He hopes to make his final decision before the start of his senior season.
Loney's Take: Ruiz is Penn State’s to lose, provided the Nittany Lions offer. The key factor is whether Franklin and company believe they have enough wiggle room in this class to spend a scholarship on a kicker.