THOMSON, Ga. -- The Golden Lions of St. Pius X came up short against the Thomson Bulldogs 21-14 in the first ever meeting of the two Class AAA powers. The game featured three lead changes, four turnovers and one stellar effort from St. Pius X cornerback Nicholas Ruffin.
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound junior was everywhere. He and the Golden Lions secondary held Thomson to just two completions through the air for 18 yards. On offense, Ruffin had seven carries for 40 yards and he hauled in two passes for 50 yards. He was on special teams and might as well have been running the concession stand, ticket booth and scoreboard. His potential at multiple positions has attracted top FBS schools.
“I have offers from Florida State, Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ole Miss and Tennessee,” Ruffin said. “A lot of colleges are looking at me as a defensive back and some see me as a wide receiver. None so far at running back but hopefully they will come through. I will just keep working until that point.”
More offers are likely on the way, especially since Ruffin says he is not in a hurry.
“Right now I am not really narrowing anything down,” Ruffin said. “I am still young. I am only a junior so I don’t plan on having to narrow it down until the summer going into my senior year. I am just working to get the offers and to help my team win a state championship this year.”
While Ruffin may not be in a hurry, some programs are trying harder than others to sway him.
“I would say Vanderbilt right now and probably Florida State are recruiting me the hardest,” Ruffin said.
The Seminoles have already made a good impression.
“Florida State is a great school, not just athletically but academically too,” Ruffin said. “Coach [Dameyune] Craig and Coach [Jimbo] Fisher do a phenomenal job with that team. Coach Craig -- I love him. He’s funny. I am definitely drawn to that school and I love it. I love being at that school. I went last year for a visit and I can’t put into words how much I enjoyed it.
“I like their defensive scheme. It kind of fits into what I want to do. They like being physical and they like their corners to be tough and play up at the line of scrimmage. And that is what I am looking to do when I go off to college.”
When asked if he enjoyed jamming receivers at the line, Ruffin responded with his first smile since the game ended.
“Anytime of the day,” Ruffin said. “I am an aggressive guy. I like to be up on the line. I like to be in a fight. I am a fighter.”
All good fighters need someone in their corner and for Ruffin that role is filled by teammate and Georgia safety commit Nick Glass.
“Nick is like a brother to me,” Ruffin said. “He and I have great chemistry. Having him in the secondary with me is second to none. It gives me a sense of security that I don’t have to worry about somebody beating us deep.”
Thomson didn’t beat St. Pius deep through the air but rather pounded the ball on the ground. Ruffin, Glass and the rest of the Golden Lions put up a valiant effort but it was not enough.
“It was a hard-fought game,” Ruffin said. “Both teams are exceptional teams and it was a great game start to finish. Turnover and mental mistakes are what we will work on and fix.”