Five-star OT Nolan Rucci of Lititz, PA and his family got a two-day look at Clemson from an academic and football angles Friday and Saturday. He and his family arrived Thursday night and spent the next two days checking out the classes, the campus, the facilities, and most important to Rucci, the coaches and players.
“It was cool for me to see,” Rucci said. “For me, a big part of my process is going places and watching coaches and their guys, obviously those people that matter. Obviously, you are going to be coached by the guys around you that are playing, and you’ve really got to get a feel for them.”
Rucci got a chance to see the Tigers practice Friday and Saturday and much of the time he was focused on offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell and his interaction with his troops.
“Coach Caldwell is a really cool dude,” Rucci said. “I appreciate a coach who is willing to tell you what you’re doing wrong and how you are supposed to fix it. I could definitely see myself in that room with those guys. I got the chance to sit down with the guys, no coach and no parents or anything, and I could definitely see myself around those guys. They are all super dudes.”
Rucci is a left tackle, and with the possibility of Clemson starting left tackle Jackson Carman leaving for the NFL after his junior (2020) season, he knows there’s chance for a quick start for him in the program.
“We talked about it,” he said. “It would be a pretty good fit for me, especially a left tackle coming into that program. It’s definitely a factor.”
Rucci and his family also got the chance to sit down with Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney Friday, and that turned out to be a production session both ways.
“It was really cool,” Rucci said. “We talked about 45 minutes about football. We appreciated the time he took out of his day to spend with us. I feel really good about them. They are definitely one of my top schools at this point. I haven’t made any decisions as far as lists or putting out a top ten or a top five. I think right now I’m just trying to get back to places. I’m in kind of the information gathering period where I’m just trying to get to places I haven’t seen before and get back to some schools. Once I do all that this spring, then hopefully I’ll be able to make a decision by the end of spring, or late June or early July.”
Rucci left Clemson around 7:00 AM Sunday morning for the drive home. On the way he went thru Knoxville and stopped at Tennessee for a visit with that staff. As for other visits, he said he wants to keep those plans under wraps for now. He’ll publicize those trips as they come about.
Rucci’s father played at Penn State and in the NFL, and his brother is a tight end at Wisconsin, so those Big Ten schools figure to be in the mix. Notre Dame, Michigan, Miami, Stanford, LSU and Texas A&M are some of his other offers.