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Wednesday, January 30, 2013
2014 Watch List DB picks up SEC offer

By Greg Ostendorf

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Over the weekend, ESPN Watch List defensive back Nicholas Ruffin (Atlanta/St. Pius X) visited Alabama for the Tide’s junior day. He went home with out a scholarship offer. However, it didn’t take long for the UA coaches to change their tune.

Nicholas Ruffin
2014 cornerback Nicholas Ruffin received an offer from Alabama, where his former high school teammate Geno Smith is a standout corner.
On Tuesday, Alabama extended an offer to the Peach State standout, and he said it was one of the offers he was hoping to receive.

“For one, my former teammate Geno Smith is there,” Ruffin said. “He’s done a phenomenal job, only being a freshman. It also kind of brings notoriety to you when a national championship team recognizes you. That’s awesome.

“I really wanted that offer more so to see that my hard work had paid off and that I’m doing the right thing.”

Smith, a freshman cornerback for Alabama and a former star at St. Pius X, reached out to his former teammate when he found out the Tide had offered.

“He just told me congratulations and that he’s proud of me,” Ruffin said. “That’s what he expected; anything less was unacceptable. He asked me how I felt about it. I told him I was still trying to wrap my head around the idea and just the thought that I actually had that offer.”

Although Ruffin didn’t get the offer during his visit over the weekend, the trip was still a success. It was his first time in Tuscaloosa, Ala., since the 2011 LSU game, and he got to spend more time with the coaching staff and got a feel for the campus.

“What stood out to me was just how warm and open the coaches were,” Ruffin said. “The facilities are top-notch, especially the new weight room that they’re building.

“Probably the biggest thing to me, though, was just the atmosphere and the feel that I got, the vibe that I got while I was there. I felt very comfortable, which is very important to me.”

On his visit, Ruffin sat down and talked with head coach Nick Saban for the first time. The two discussed the Alabama program, both on and off the field, and where the 6-foot-1, 185-pound prospect would fit in the Tide’s defense.

“He said they’d probably move me to a safety position unless I show him otherwise that I can stay at corner,” Ruffin said. “He said the reason being because of my size. He can see me growing a whole lot more, and that would probably put me at a safety position.”

The Alabama offer gives Ruffin close to 15 offers. He visited Georgia Tech the weekend before and has plans to visit Georgia and Ohio State in February.

The 2014 star says Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, South Carolina and Vanderbilt are the schools who currently stand out.