College search ‘wide open’ for Rucci

By on July 3, 2019
The University of Wisconsin is one of 18 Division-One schools who have made a scholarship offer to Warwick rushing junior lineman Nolan Rucci.

The University of Wisconsin is one of 18 Division-One schools who have made a scholarship offer to Warwick rushing junior lineman Nolan Rucci.

 

In less than one year’s time, a lot has changed for Warwick rising junior Nolan Rucci.

The options for his college future have taken flight.

A 6-foot-8, 271-pound lineman for the Warrior football team, Rucci got his first Division-One offer when Wisconsin reached out last Sept. 4.

Since then, there have been 17 others.

“It’s almost been like a whirlwind with just how fast everything is going,” Rucci said.

Such is what happens when earning the 28th spot on the Rivals.com list of top 100 prospects nationwide among players in the Class of 2021.

That’s not all.

He is ranked fifth in the U.S. at offensive tackle and second in Pennsylvania, according to Rivals.

The numbers from 247sports.com are similar — 23rd nationally, first overall in the Keystone State and fourth among offensive tackles.

It hasn’t gone unnoticed by some of the best college football programs in the country. The Badgers started the ball rolling just a few days after Warwick belted Garden Spot 62-0 in Week Two, and from there, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Pitt, Penn State, Maryland, Syracuse, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, reigning national champ Clemson, Texas, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Northwestern, and LSU have all stepped up with scholarship offers.

“It’s been extremely exciting,” Rucci said. “I’m super thankful for all the coaches who are interested in me and offered me. It’s just such an awesome experience to go through and I’m glad at this point it hasn’t gotten tedious and I can still enjoy the process personally, just getting to know coaches and other recruits along the way.”

The Ruccis, of course, aren’t far removed from their first recruiting journey. Hayden, of Warwick’s Class of 2019, received 19 Division-One offers before signing with Wisconsin, where he is currently preparing for his freshman season.

Nolan was along for the ride pretty much every step of the way. Now that it’s his turn, he has an insider’s perspective.

And as Hayden and Nolan’s father, Todd, can attest, with experience comes familiarity.

“It just feels like we are a little bit more relaxed in the process, and Nolan is absolutely more relaxed about it,” Todd said. “So that makes (Stacy and me) relaxed too. He’s been handling it so well. We have spent multiple interactions with some of these schools and we know them well. So I’d say we’re a little more efficient with our time and we’re a little bit more focused on things that are important.”

Not the least of which is education.

At this point, Nolan’s interests are toward engineering. As someone who often tunes in to the Science Channel on television, he has become fond of the aerospace field.

“I always grew up watching those kinds of shows, so I think the whole space exploration stuff has been really cool for me,” he said.

The art of information gathering — and how it applies to an area of study — is one of the things which Nolan took away from Hayden’s journey.

“It started me early knowing what I should be looking for in schools, especially academically and athletically because you always have to have that balance,” Nolan said. “A lot of schools will say you can do this major, you can do that major, but in reality, they don’t have anyone doing that and you have to find what you’re able to do at that school.”

Whichever school lands Rucci will get an intimidating figure at the tackle position.

Although run blocking is an aspect of his game that he’d like to improve, and finishing every play to the ground, Rucci believes his pass-blocking is sound technique-wise.

“Being as tall as I am, I think for my height, I have really good feet and movement. I think another thing is flexibility because I’m able to get down and get under kids, especially smaller kids,” Rucci said. “A lot of times, big tall guys will have problems bending and getting down on people. So it’s harder for them to block. But I think one advantage I have is that I’m able to get down there, so it makes it easier for me to block those kids lower to the ground.”

The Hempfields, McCaskeys and Penn Manors of Section One won’t be sad to see Rucci graduate in June of 2021. From there, it will be onto the next level for the big lineman.

And at this point, his mind is “wide open” about college.

“I have not made any decisions or started any lists yet as far as narrowing down or eliminating any schools yet,” Rucci said. “So all the schools that have offered, that’s who I’m (looking at) right now.”

Rucci is hoping that by the end of his junior football season, he will be closer to a decision.

“Hopefully by then, I’ll have an idea in my head,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ll be committed by then, but I’ll probably have a pretty good idea with where I want to be at that point.”

And yes, that could include Wisconsin. Hayden is already recruiting Nolan to join him in Madison to play for the Badgers.

“I’ve gone on visits with him, so I’ve gotten to know a few guys in his class and they’re great guys,” Nolan said. “I pretty much give (Hayden) the same spiel as everybody else, like, ‘I don’t really know yet.’ I may entertain him some times. It’s definitely wide open as far as recruiting goes right now.”

 

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