Wisconsin showing interest in Pa. WR

Jarmal Ruffin recently attended Penn State's junior day; Badgers may have their work cut out luring him from home state

Name: Jarmal Ruffin
Position: WR
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 200 pounds
40-Yard dash: 4.5 seconds
School: Scotland Sch Veterans Children, Scotland, PA


Jarmal Ruffin had yet another outstanding season for Scotland last year, averaging an impressive 20 yards after the catch.

"His strength is that he'll go up and get the ball anywhere," said Scotland head coach, Michael Adamek. "He has no problem going across the middle and his vertical leap is spectacular. The last time I saw him do it (vertical jump test), it was about 35 inches. He's also the leader of the boys basketball team which right now going for their 3rd state title in a row. He definitely has great hands, very soft hands."

Although Jarmal does not yet have any scholarship offers, the number of big-time programs interested in him continues to grow.

"Right now, Wisconsin."

Jarmal attended a junior day at Penn State this past Saturday along with Coach Adamek and junior-to-be teammate Greg Robinson. Ruffin had previously visited Maryland for a junior day as well. Adamek estimated that there were only about 15 prospects at PSU's junior day, a very small group compared to that at Maryland's junior day.

"He visited Maryland for a junior day, but he was definitely impressed with Penn State. Penn State basically told them, 'If you're here for junior day, we're interested in you and we want to show you what our program is'. They didn't talk down any other program. They said, 'If we need to do that, then we're not running a good program'. I think just the individual time is what really impressed him, that they were willing to spend that time with him."

Although Ruffin is being recruited as a wide-receiver, both he and Robinson have had a great deal of success at their defensive-end positions.

"Two years ago, they combined for 38 sacks. So, they're both a force on defense. Last year, I think they had about 22 or 23 sacks."

According to Coach Adamek, Robinson thought the duo's first trip to Penn State was fantastic. Ruffin agreed.

"It was really great," Jarmal said Thursday evening. "They showed us around the school and they really went into great depth about how they run their football program at Penn State. They also showed us how much help they give their freshmen coming in academic-wise with advisers and tutors. They really gave us a good experience at Penn State for that day. There weren't that many people there, so they had time to answer our individual questions. I asked Larry Johnson, our recruiter, a lot of questions. I asked Mike McQueary a couple of questions. I got a chance to talk to Joe Paterno. I really talked to most of the coaching staff. We went to classes and they gave us insight into their strength program, nutrition and their weight room program. They're really open about questions and answering them."

Did Penn State discuss the probability of extending a scholarship offer to Jarmal?

"They really didn't say much about an offer. I had to play tight-end [this year]. I usually play wide-receiver, but because we were lacking on the line this year, I had to go to tight-end and we had to move our tight-end to guard. I was playing a little bit out of position, so they said they need to see me a little bit more. They want me to come to the Nike Camp so they can get a better look at me."

Both he and Robinson plan on returning to Penn State on May 15 for the Nike Camp. They both gave their initial trip high marks.

"He loved it too," said Ruffin concerning Robinson. "We both had a great time. We both enjoyed it a lot. It was a great experience for both of us."

Jarmal enjoyed his meeting with newly appointed Nittany Lion assistant coach Mike McQueary who will be working with the wide-receivers.

"He basically went over what he likes in a wide-receiver. He said I have all the qualifications that he likes. He said I have talent. He went over a couple of defensive coverages and how they're running patterns. He briefly touched on their playbook. He went over calls they'll call in the huddle and gave us a little insight into what that would be like. He told us basically how he likes to coach his wide-receivers and all the experience that he has, him going to the NFL and actually talking to quarterbacks and receivers and then trying to work with them and what he learned from that. He wants to bring that [knowledge] to his receivers that he'll be coaching."

What did McQueary say he likes in a receiver?

"He said he likes them big, he said they have to catch and they have to have some type of athletic ability."

The Nittany Lions appear very interested in the athletic wide-receiver and Ruffin apparently reciprocates that interest.

"They said they have a high interest in me. I'm very interested in Penn State. It would be a great ball club to go to. I'd be honored to play for them and to participate in their program."

Several other teams are also vying for Jarmal's affection.

"I've received some letters from Georgia Tech, Georgetown, Iowa, Wisconsin, Boston College, a lot of schools are sending letters. It's just crazy how many letters I've been getting a day."

"My top five right now are Penn State, West Virginia, the University of Virginia, Iowa and Pittsburgh. My top three are Penn State, West Virginia and the University of Virginia because of their Engineering programs."

Does he have one favorite at this time?

"Penn State. I'd have to say Penn State."

Is he hearing much from Pittsburgh?

"They want me to come to their football camp. I'm debating on which one I should attend because right now I'm not sure if I'll be able to make it to more than one camp. I was thinking about West Virginia, Penn State, I'm trying to stay close to Pennsylvania. I don't want to travel real far away."

"Pitt has a great Engineering program too and they also have a good football club. I'm really interested in Pitt. If I ranked them in order, they'd probably be number four."

Ruffin, who currently plans to study Mechanical Engineering, places high importance on what a prospective school has to offer academically.

"Every school that writes me, I try to look to see if they have a good Engineering program, what their graduation rates are for their players, and I try to see how much attention they really give to academics. A lot of schools just want you to play football and they don't care anything about you. I'm trying to be real cautious about that. I'm looking on their websites and seeing what they have to offer academically first. That's first and foremost."

Does Jarmal have a timetable in mind for when he plans on making a final decision?

"I'm pretty much thinking like whoever offers first, like who shows the most interest and who really stays with me. A lot of schools just see a name that was given to them, but the team that actually calls my coach and seems very interested in me, I'd give them serious consideration."

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