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St. Pius X Golden Lions
SPX Alumni - Nick Ruffin in the News Again
September 22nd, 2014
AUBURN, Alabama -- Few Auburn fans or observers expected Nick Ruffin to be the first freshman from the 2014 recruiting class to carve out a key role on the defense.
But Ruffin's versatility earned the freshman safety a key role against Kansas State.
With Joshua Holsey moving over to free safety to replace a suspended Jermaine Whitehead, Ruffin earned 28 snaps in Thursday's 20-14 win over the Wildcats at both the Star and safety positions.
"Really, (Nick's) one of the more bright ones, picking up on things and getting us lined up," defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson said on Sunday.
Ruffin, who's listed at 6-foot, 180 pounds, was listed as a cornerback when he was recruited out of St. Pius X High in the Atlanta area, settled in at the Star position right away.
He's slowly worked his way into the defense, getting four snaps in the season opener at the Star position behind Robenson Therezie and Justin Garrett and 20 snaps at the position against San Jose State before being given an expanded role on short notice.
With Holsey at the field safety spot, Ruffin played 20 snaps as the middle safety in Auburn's 3-3-5 package, added eight snaps as a Star, made two tackles and broke up a deep ball over the middle in the first extended action for any freshman this season.
"We played our six DB package quite a bit as the game flowed on," Johnson said. "Nick played really well."
Playing a spot that requires defensive backs to make a lot of calls and checks in the secondary, Ruffin has progressed quickly, fast enough to shore up a safety spot and allow Holsey to make 11 tackles in relief of Whitehead.
So far, Ruffin's showed promise that he could follow in Whitehead and Holsey's footsteps as cornerbacks who made the move to safety.
"Coach Harbison says that quite often he can hear him now," Johnson said. "He's making a lot of adjustments back there, talking and communicating."