Bobby Ruff has done a little bit of everything in three seasons on The Citadel's football coaching staff.
The former West Ashley High School and Charleston Southern standout started as an intern on the strength and conditioning staff, then moved to defensive quality control, then to offensive tackles and tight ends and last season to inside linebackers. The son of Citadel football legend Brian Ruff, Bobby has also played a key role in recruiting, particularly in South Carolina and the Lowcountry.
But Ruff has decided its time to expand his portfolio, taking a job as defensive coordinator at Easley High School under head coach Jordan Durrah. Ruff already has moved to the Upstate and started working at Easley.
"It really came out of nowhere," Ruff said. "I was talking to the head coach, and he asked if I knew anyone interested in the opening. I said, 'Yeah, me.' Two days later we had a Zoom interview, and two days later he offered me the job."
The timing was right for Ruff and his fiancé, who plan to get married this summer.
"We're getting married in June, and we were trying to figure out what career path we could take where we could be together and both be successful. So we were kind of toying with the idea of me moving to high schools, and then this opportunity popped up."
Ruff said telling coach Brent Thompson of his decision was difficult.
"I told him, I wouldn't be in this position if it weren't for him believing in me straight out of college," Ruff said. "I love The Citadel, my family bleeds Bulldog blue, and that won't change. I might also be able to go to Charleston Southern games now, too."
One of the more intriguing of The Citadel's recent commitments is defensive back Andrew Oliver, a 6-1, 210-pounder from Lake Oswego, Oregon. That's 2,906.8 miles.
Oliver plans to sign with the Bulldogs in February. He said his coach at Lakeridge High School, Spencer Phillips, knows Citadel recruiting coordinator Turner West. Phillips won a Super Bowl ring as an assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles.
"I always wanted to go to a military college, because I'd be the fourth generation in my family in the military," Wilson said. "So my coach put me in touch with Coach West, and we exchanged information."
With officials recruiting visits shut down by COVID-19, Wilson and his mom visited The Citadel on their own in December.
Wilson's fall season was postponed to the spring due to the pandemic, and he's slated to play quarterback and safety this spring. Last year, he had 53 tackles and six interceptions for Lakeridge.
The Citadel has received a second commitment from a First Baptist standout.
Receiver Sevaughn Washington, a 5-10, 160-pound receiver/defensive back, committed last week. He had 26 catches for 447 yards and two touchdowns last season for First Baptist, which went undefeated in the regular season before COVID-19 kept the Hurricanes out of the playoffs.
Washington's teammate, 6-2, 220-pound linebacker Mikey Blandin, signed with The Citadel in December.
Cole England, a 6-5, 250-pound lineman from Laurens, also has committed.
The Citadel is just seven weeks from its scheduled spring opener at Mercer on Feb. 27.