Clemson currently has 10 commitments in its 2021 recruiting class, which ranks in the top five nationally right now, and plans to sign around 18 prospects in this cycle according to Dabo Swinney.
In our Breaking Down Clemson’s Top Targets series, The Clemson Insider takes an in-depth look at some of the top names on the Tigers’ board, where they stand with them and more. In this article, we focus on Nolan Rucci:
Hometown (High School): Lititz, Pa. (Warwick)
Height, Weight: 6-8, 290
Power Five Offers: Alabama, Arizona State, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Stanford, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Ratings/Rankings: 5-star, No. 4 OT, No. 1 state, No. 14 national (247Sports Composite); 4-star, No. 3 OT, No. 1 state, No. 13 national (247Sports); 4-star, No. 7 OT, No. 4 state, No. 34 national (ESPN); 4-star, No. 6 OT, No. 2 state, No. 36 national (Rivals)
After receiving an offer from Clemson in June 2019, Rucci made his first visit to the school last October to attend the Florida State game at Death Valley, then returned to campus in early March for a multi-day visit.
The latest visit gave Rucci a chance to really see what the Tigers have to offer from an academic standpoint. He was able to tour the academic facilities and sit down with an academic advisor, and he liked what he saw and heard.
“Obviously you have to know a lot about the football program, but I think just being back the second time, I was really impressed with the academic portion that Clemson has,” said Rucci, who is interested in being an engineering major. “As good as they are at football and then as good as they are at academics, I was pretty impressed by that.”
Rucci remains a priority for Clemson as it looks to close out its 2021 O-line class with an elite tackle or two.
Where Clemson stands:
Last month, Rucci released a top nine of Alabama, Clemson, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Stanford and Wisconsin.
Of those schools, Clemson, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State and Wisconsin are viewed as the primary contenders, but we believe his recruitment will ultimately boil down to Clemson, Penn State and Wisconsin. His father, Todd, was an offensive lineman for the Nittany Lions, and his older brother, Hayden, is a redshirt freshman tight end for the Badgers.
Penn State is widely considered the favorite to eventually land Rucci, but Clemson is legitimate competition for the legacy recruit. Rucci wants to take official visits before rendering his decision, so his commitment timeframe is up in the air right now with all in-person recruiting suspended through at least June 30 due to the coronavirus.
What Clemson would get:
If the Tigers are able to score Rucci, they would be getting an elite prospect who has the potential to be an anchor at left tackle in the coming years.
Rucci has the coveted combination of top-end size and athleticism at his position that makes coaches drool, not to mention his length and raw strength. A look at his tape shows him pummeling defensive linemen left and right. Rucci packs a punch off the snap and finishes blocks aggressively, playing through the whistle with authority. He shows good quickness in getting to the second level when run blocking, and while his film doesn’t show much of him in pass protection, he has the tools to be excellent in that area as well. His father played for eight years in the NFL, so his pedigree is strong.
Rucci looks like a surefire multi-year impact starter at the next level and certainly has the talent to one day play in the NFL.
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