Of late, 2016 Wilson (Tacoma, Wa.) TE/DL A.J. Ruffin has been one of the rising stars in the 2017 recruiting class out of the state of Washington and on Sunday he made the decision on where he will play his college football.
“I committed to Portland State,” a happy Ruffin told Northwest Elite Index Sunday evening. “I was down there for my visit this weekend and so was my family.
“I told the coaches I wanted to commit and they were beyond happy. They said they were trying to get players like me to come in and be part of what they are building and they were really excited to get my commitment.”
With offers from UTEP, Wyoming, New Mexico and Idaho, on the surface at least, this appears to be a bit of a surprise.
“I know that Portland State plays FCS ball instead of FBS and my parents were even talking about that too, but when you find the right place, the place that has all of what you are looking for, that doesn’t really matter,” Ruffin admitted. “I really liked their academics there. It’s a great school and ultimately, that’s why you choose a school. Football comes second as far as why you choose to go to a place, at least that’s the way I look at it.
“I want to get into athletic training and sports therapy and they have a great program for that and there are a lot of great internship opportunities there.
“In the end, it was about the academics, but also the environment and the relationships with people that I have there. If I’m going to spend the next four or five years, I needed to like the environment that I was going to be in and I can’t think of a better place than that.”
As far as where he’ll play once he joins the Vikings this summer, Ruffin said it’s still up in the air.
“They said it was up to me,” Ruffin said. “They like me on either side, so what I am thinking is defensive end and tight end.
“That is at least what I will start out doing. I am not sure how it will all work itself out, but it will eventually take care of itself.”
At nearly 6’5″ and weighing in at 270 pounds, Ruffin already has a great frame and he’s an underrated athlete, able to play almost anywhere along the defensive line. He’s also got a 6’7″ wingspan, so he has those long arms that coaches are looking for along the defensive front.
Ruffin said he had a trip scheduled to see UTEP this coming weekend, but he’s called the coaches and told them he is committed to Portland State and won’t be taking any more trips.