|Cesar Ruiz – C | 6-3, 315 | Bradenton, Fla. (IMG Academy)|
|ESPN: 4-star, #1 C||Rivals: 4-star, #1 C||247: 4-star, #1 C||Scout: 4-star, #2 C|
|247 Composite: 4-star #1 C|
|Other top offers: Florida, Auburn, Alabama, Oklahoma, Clemson, FSU, LSU, Georgia, Ole Miss, Texas A&M|
After grabbing two of the nation’s top receivers last week in Tarik Black and Donovan Peoples-Jones, Michigan missed out on one of the top offensive tackles in Isaiah Wilson, who chose Georgia. Today, the Wolverines bounced back with a commitment from the No. 1 center in the nation, Cesar Ruiz. The Bradenton, Fla. resident pledged his commitment to Michigan just after noon Eastern on Monday.
I Have Officially Committed To ??? … pic.twitter.com/zgUjbNUPyL
— S A U C Y ™ (@_OverCees) December 19, 2016
Ruiz is a consensus four-star according to the four major recruiting services. All but Scout rank him the top center in the 2017 class, while Scout ranks him second behind Texas Tech commit Jack Anderson. 247 Sports ranks Ruiz the highest nationally as the 66th best overall player in the class. ESPN ranks him 69th, Rivals 77th, and Scout 100th. He’s the No. 1 center and 58th-best overall player in the class according to the 247 Composite.
Ruiz, who is originally from Camden, N.J., chose the Wolverines over a final group that also included Florida and Auburn. Michigan has long been considered the favorite to land Ruiz despite the 6-foot-3, 315-pounder holding offers from most of the nation’s top schools, including Alabama, Oklahoma, Clemson, Florida State, LSU, Georgia, Ole Miss, and Texas A&M, to name a few.
Scout lists Ruiz’s strengths as body control and balance, explosion, and quickness off ball, while listing his areas to improve as flexibility and technique. Scout’s Brian Dohn expands on that.
“Ruiz plays with a low pad level and explodes well. He is quick to the second level and his agility allows him to manipulate his body and make square blocks on smaller targets. He has a strong initial punch and once engaged, he drives his legs and turns the defensive play to open a hole. He retreats well in pass protection and he reads blitzes well. Adding more knee bend and getting his hands inside more are key to his development.”
Ruiz is the 23rd member of the 2017 class and the 11th on the offensive side of the ball, joining Ja’Raymond Hall, Andrew Stueber, Joel Honigford, Phillip Paea, and Kai-Leon Herbert as offensive linemen in the class. It’s rare for a true freshman to start on the offensive line, but with most of this season’s line departing and not much proven depth behind them, there’s a chance for that to happen next fall.