OT Nolan Rucci of Lititz, PA is one of the top offensive tackle prospects in the 2021 class, and unlike many of his age, he’s not letting current conditions affect his approach to recruiting. Rucci trimmed his long list of offers to nine in May and has been sitting on that group since then. He would like to be further along in the process, but Covid-19 and the recruiting restrictions created as a result are holding back his decision making process.
“It’s been a lot of FaceTimes and phone calls and stuff like that,” Rucci said. “I think right now it’s a lot of waiting on some information. A lot of the stuff the NCAA and the conferences are putting out is all week by week stuff. At this point and time, I’m just kind of waiting to hear some solid information on what the season may look like, what recruiting may look like before making any kind of decision. That’s what the timeline is looking like right now.”
Clemson is in his final nine, and he’s having a regular amount of contact with offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell.
“Coach Caldwell and I have been keeping up on it on a pretty steady basis. We talk probably every week or so,” Rucci said. “FaceTime, just kind of catching up. That’s how a lot of schools have been. You’re just catching up on the phone or FaceTime, maybe during a virtual visit if I haven’t been there yet. Obviously I got the chance to go down to Clemson int he spring which was very fortunate because it was one of the only schools I was able to do so this spring before everything got shut down. But right now it’s just been a whole lot of keeping up, seeing what the recruiting and the season might look like.”
Caldwell and Rucci have been talking for a long time, so there’s not much more the veteran Clemson coach can say to sell Rucci on the program. So they talk more along personal lines.
“A lot of it is just catching up,” Rucci said. “Seeing if he caught any fish this week, how workouts are going. Pretty lighthearted conversations. I know a lot about the program, the academics that they have to offer. I got a chance to tour their facilities and everything like that. At this point, a lot of it is catching up on recruiting, how’s life basically.”
Rucci also has Wisconsin, Alabama, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, Stanford, Penn State and Notre Dame on his short list. He has done virtual visits with Stanford, Wisconsin and Florida, and of course he’d like to see the schools again in person before finalizing his plans.
“Ideally I’d like to get some visits in,” Rucci said. “From what I’m hearing from a lot of conferences and schools, that may not be an opportunity this season. I think just waiting on some solid information on that before I start thinking about making any decisions. If that does occur, what kind of timeline that I would be looking at. So, I think there’s a lot that may happen in the next couple of weeks depending on how quickly they get out that information.”
Along with Clemson, Rucci has visited Tennessee, Penn State and Wisconsin, where his brother Hayden is a tight end.
Clemson has two offensive linemen committed in the 2021 class, a center and a tackle. Two other tackles who have Clemson on their short lists are Tristan Leigh of Fairfax, VA and Dietrick Pennington of Memphis.