Former Camden Star Cesar Ruiz Headed for NFL Draft

by Marc Narducci; Photo courtesy of University of Michigan | Jan 10, 2020
Former Camden Star Cesar Ruiz Headed for NFL Draft
South Jersey product Cesar Ruiz has decided to bypass his senior year at the University of Michigan and declare for the NFL draft.
Ruiz, who is from Camden, was among the top centers in the country. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 319 pounds, Ruiz began his high school career at Camden High and even as a sophomore was among the top players in South Jersey.
Ruiz decided to transfer from Camden to IMG Academy, a boarding school in Florida that plays some of the top competition in the country.
And whether it was Camden High, IMG Academy or Michigan, Ruiz stood out.
He earned the scholarship to Michigan, where he reunited with former Camden stars Brad Hawkins and Ron Johnson.
Hawkins, a defensive back, enjoyed a strong junior season this past fall. He was named to Pro Football Focus’ all-Big 10 squad after recording 53 tackles. Also on Michigan is another Camden product, defensive lineman Ron Johnson.
In three years at Michigan, Ruiz appeared in 35 games, making 30 starts, five at right guard and 25 at his accustomed center position. He also contributed on special teams in 14 games.
As a junior, he was named the best pass blocking center in the country by Pro Football Focus College. According to PFF C he allowed just eight pressures on 447 snaps spent in pass protection.
He earned second-team all-Big 10 honors from the coaches this past season. He was a third team member in 2018.
Before signing with Michigan, Ruiz had more than 35 scholarship offers from schools such as Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Ohio State and Penn State, to name a few.
His strength is his strength as Ruiz is among the stronger centers in the country, but he also has quick feet.
Since he was a freshman at Camden, Ruiz was well known by the recruiters and he was able to continue to get better.
Even though Camden coach would have liked to have kept him all four years, at the time he said he understood that this was a chance for Ruiz to better himself by going to IMG, which offered him a full scholarship.
What helped Ruiz is that after the fall of 2017, he enrolled into Michigan. He was able to participate in spring practice and as a true freshman was able to play in 10 games and make five starts, all at right guard.
That kind of versatility should help Ruiz because NFL teams like linemen who can play more than one position. He is certainly big and strong enough to also prosper at guard, but Ruiz is a natural center and that is where he has enjoyed his greatest success both in high school and college.

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And now he will take his talents to the NFL, yet another South Jersey product to make his mark in professional football.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo courtesy of University of Michigan


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