Joe Talks To Rookie DE James Ruffin

April 29th, 2010

Shortly after the close of the NFL Draft, the Bucs reached out to undrafted free agent James Ruffin, who was a star defensive end at Northern Iowa, a two-time defensive player of the year in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, and a two-time Division 1-AA All American (Yeah, Joe realizes they don’t call it 1-AA anymore).  He is now a Buccaneer and will join drafted playes and other rookie free agents at a three-day minicamp in Tampa that starts tomorrow. Ruffin will then return to Northern Iowa to graduate with a degree in construction managment on May 8. Joe talked to Ruffin this morning. Here’s what he had to say:

Joe: What should Bucs fans know about you as a football player?

James Ruffin: I think I’m a type of guy that’s going to come in and know that I’m an underdog with something to prove. I’m a leader and I give 100 percent all the time. And I can bring a lot to the team as far as that kind of effort and attitude.

Joe: What kind of pass rusher are you?

Ruffin: I can mix it up a little bit. I have an inside move and an outside move. I’m relentless rushing the passer. I really can get it going.

Joe: What’s your football story? How’d you get to this point in your career?

Ruffin: Getting to Northern Iowa and moving positions a couple of times was unique. I was told I would be fullback out of high school, then the first day at Northern Iowa they moved me to linebacker. They asked me to play as a freshman as a backup linebacker, but then I said I would redshirt because I didn’t want to do that. Then they asked me to be a defensive end. At first I didn’t like it because I never played defense before. I thought I would never get over 250 pounds, and I didn’t want to be one of the fat guys.  I didn’t like it. But I gained 35 pounds that first year and got up to 274 pounds with low body fat. And then I’ve been progressing every year and learning the position. I’ve always been a coachable kid.

Joe: How was the NFL Draft for you? What were your expectations?

Ruffin: I was told I was going to go sixth or seventh round. I was sitting around with my family. That was the hardest thing. Really hard.

Joe: Who told you to expect to be drafted?

Ruffin: It was a combination of coaches, scouts and agents. They said I could slip through but they didn’t think so.

Joe: How did the Buccaneers come into play?

Ruffin: The Bucs were the one team that I had never talked to, never talked to them personally. The Bucs came out of nowhere. I was talking to Kansas City, Jacksonville, Denver and Cincinatti. I think the fact that they drafted [defensive end] Erik Lorig in the seventh round and the coach [defensive line coach Todd Wash] was telling me that there could be a couple of spots open, that’s what made Tampa Bay more attractive to me and intriguing. It’s ideal to not have a big bunch of vets in front of me.

Joe: Do you know anyone on the Buccaneers? And have you gotten advice on how to approach rookie minicamp?

Ruffin: I don’t know anyone. My [agent] also represents a couple of the Bucs’ linebackers, but I’m not sure which ones. I’ve gotten all kinds of advice. ‘Don’t count your reps; make your reps count’ was something I heard. I’ll follow that.

9 Responses to “Joe Talks To Rookie DE James Ruffin”

  1. Radio Mushmouth Says:

    You made a wise choice Ruffin . You have as good a chance to make this team as any of the other pathetic bums we call our Defensive ends.

  2. Tristan Says:

    I could be wrong, RM, but my guess is that you don’t have a lot of people calling you for motivational speaking gigs.

  3. sunrisejeff Says:

    I think this kid really has an outside chance to make this roster. He definetly has a relentless motor now it’s time to see if he can adjust to the NFL level of competition. I always root for the overlooked guys like this to crack their way into the NFL…….nice article Joe thank you.

  4. Buc Stuck in NJ Says:

    Good luck to the guy. I hope he blows it up. The Bucs surely don’t have an aversion to playing UDFAs. Good article Joe.

  5. Mr. Lucky Says:

    Joe, nice piece of ORIGINAL reporting. You ARE everything Bucs

  6. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    Joe’s an original. The faithful knoweth.

  7. George C. Costanza Says:

    thanks for the effort, Joe. i’ll be pulling for this young man.

  8. Dee Says:

    I love what Ruffin said about being able to bring something to the team!!! The Ruff Rydah is gonna show up and show out so get ready get ready get READY FLORIDA because you are in for a treat!!!!!

  9. Mrs. B! Says:

    They don’t even know how we do it! They aint ready! Go down there and tear it up!