A.J. Ruffin, Wilson High School’s all-state defensive lineman, verbally committed to this fall play football at Portland State University.
Ruffin, the 3A Narrows League most valuable player who led Wilson to its second consecutive state tournament appearance, said he took an official visit there this weekend, but was originally offered last December.
"There was something about the visit – it clicked," Ruffin said. "The education is what really drove me. They are in a lower conference (Big Sky) but that didn’t matter to me. Football is football. If I’m going to make it to the next level, it will find me. But at the end of the day, education comes first."
Ruffin had 12 sacks and 10 tackles for loss this past season and was also a game-changing tight end. Portland State told him he could play whichever side of the ball he wants, Ruffin said.
Also this weekend, Thomas Jefferson running back Kenneth Turner announced his commitment to Idaho State University via Twitter.
Turner ran for 1,665 yards and led the 4A South Puget Sound League this past season with 25 total touchdowns and was selected as an All-Area running back.
Ruffin said he expects to miss the rest of Wilson’s basketball season because he was a passenger in a car accident that occurred during his official visit to the University of New Mexico on Dec. 12.
He said he suffered a serious concussion that hospitalized him for a day and a sprained neck. He said he was released back to school last Thursday. But he’s also planning to have surgery on his right shoulder in a couple of weeks – the third time he’s had surgery on that shoulder. He missed the end of his junior football season because of a shoulder injury.
But all that, and Portland State was undeterred.
"They seemed pretty confident in me," Ruffin said. "I sat in Coach (Bruce) Barnum’s office when he offered me and he said, ‘No matter what, we are going to take you.’ He said ‘We are going to do whatever it takes to get you.’"