- Erik McKinney, ESPN Staff Writer
After what happened with De'Anthony Thomas last year, any late-January official visit to Oregon is viewed as potential treason by many USC fans. And until last week, USC linebacker commit Jabari Ruffin (Downey, Calif./Downey) was being watched with great interest by that same group of people.
Though Ruffin committed to USC in the spring, a potential late trip to Oregon was on the horizon. That is, until Ruffin cancelled it last week. As a result, instead of preparing to see the Ducks before signing day, Ruffin took his final official visit to USC this past weekend and came away certain that he made the right decision.
"It's been locked in my mind that I'm going to be a Trojan," Ruffin said. "That's why I'm not taking any more visits. But this trip reminded me that this is what I'm going to be a part of for the next four years."
Ruffin said he had a great time on the visit, adding that he had more fun and learned more about the school than he thought he would.
"I got reminded about the tradition and the type of school it is," Ruffin said. "I've been committed and got used to the idea that I knew all about the coaches and the team. I've never been on a visit before and there were guys there that didn't know too much about USC. Getting that stuff pointed out about USC reminded me that I made the right choice."
In addition to getting a deeper look into the coaches and the school, Ruffin and the recruits also had a chance to watch the team go through some workouts.
"That's one of the things that stood out to me," Ruffin said. "How they lift -- the intensity. Seeing the way they get after it, the way they get better and better every day. I know once I get there I'll do the same thing. Watching them lift, I got chills. It makes me anxious to get there."
Ruffin was hosted on his visit by linebacker Hayes Pullard, who has become something of a go-to among the linebackers during official visits. Ruffin also spent plenty of time with Scott Starr, who enrolled early and has been on campus for several weeks. Because of that connection, Ruffin said he will likely take several more trips to USC before signing day. He will likely be one of several committed recruits who will be taking unofficial visits to USC over the next two weeks to help out and take advantage of the big recruiting weekends on tap.
5dChantel Jennings and Kevin Gemmell