2017 Season Countdown: #24 Cesar Ruiz

2017 Season Countdown: #24 Cesar Ruiz


August 10, 2017

Cesar Ruiz (image via Scout)

Name: Cesar Ruiz
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 315 lbs.
High school: Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy
Position: Center/offensive guard
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: #51
Last year: Ruiz was a senior in high school.
TTB Rating: 99

Michigan started recruiting Ruiz when he was an underclassman teammate of Ron Johnson and Brad Hawkins at Camden (NJ) Camden. For his junior and senior seasons, Ruiz transferred to IMG Academy and got some high-level coaching. He looked raw at center when he was in tenth grade (surprise!), but he improved by leaps and bounds when put into the atmosphere at IMG. Throughout the recruiting process, he was the #1 center in the nation, and Michigan led most of the way. He flirted with other schools, but the choice always seemed likely to be the Wolverines.

After enrolling early in January, we got a good look and a fair amount of information about the prognosis for Ruiz as a freshman. Reports were glowing about his readiness and versatility, since he doubles his value with the ability to play offensive guard. The coaches have been working him out at both center and right guard, where he is pushing presumptive starters Patrick Kugler and Michael Onwenu, respectively. Physically, he looked ready to play in the spring game, but he was late to react to a couple blitzes that hurt his offense. Things move quicker in college, even if you were playing elite teams as part of an elite program in high school. There are always concerns when you have a freshman offensive lineman playing significant minutes, and it’s likely that Ruiz will have to step in for some good sized stretches this fall. After all, what are the chances that all three of Michigan’s interior linemen stay healthy for the whole season? I think Ruiz will handle himself well for a freshman, but I did a piece on what the #1 centers have done in the past, and it’s not great (LINK). Expectations shouldn’t be sky-high right now, but the kid can play.

Prediction: Backup center/guard

17 comments

  1. Comments: 678
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Aug 10, 2017 at 3:36 PM

    Looking forward to seeing this young man dominate (next year)

  2. Comments: 666
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    WindyCityBlue
    Aug 10, 2017 at 3:43 PM

    This is very high for a guy who is only a backup at a position where you don’t rotate players. Backup Olineman aren’t going to come in until a game is well in hand, and at that point, anyone could play there and it wouldn’t matter.

    • Comments: 137
      Joined: 9/15/2015
      ragingbull
      Aug 10, 2017 at 4:53 PM

      yes but for the purposes of this countdown and how its structured, the #1-2 OC or #2-3 OG on the depth chart (basically, ruiz will be a key player and possibly even a starter or first off the bench at certain positions) could certainly be ranked ahead of backups at WR, LB, etc. its not about playing time (though thats a factor). its about significance. and relative value.

      unless im incorrect, ive always viewed this countdown as #1 is the most key player on the team and an injury or whatever to that #1 ranked player would be heaviest and most impactful to the teams overall prospects. so while guys like kinnel, metellus, cole, etc may not be the best players, theyre key cogs at positions with little to no depth and their absence would greatly affect things. sure, they have key projected starters at WR or RB but the dropoff bw #1 and #3 RB or #1 and #5 WR might not be as significant as S, OL, etc.

      a dude like hudson is key (and metellus, bush, hurst, etc) not only bc hes a solid starter at 1 position but hes versatile and talented enough to help the team in at least 1 other position too. similar for ruiz…hes not a locked in starter like those other dudes but he appears capable of playing somewhat decent ball at 2-3 positions and thats huge. the first interior and first exterior OL off the bench are key roles especially on this roster

      • Comments: 666
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Aug 10, 2017 at 6:32 PM

        And injury to a player who is not going to be out there in prime time, such as backups at QB or OL is non-impactful. Unlike non-starters at CB, DL, WR or RB, who WILL be playing when the game matters.

        Sure, you can gin up an injury scenario to make just about anyone on the team seem potentially important, but it doesn’t make much sense to structure the countdown that way.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3460
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Aug 10, 2017 at 7:08 PM

      This is proven incorrect almost every year.

    • Comments: 2172
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Aug 10, 2017 at 8:51 PM

      Backup offensive linemen come into games all the time. Left to right last year, Newsome got hurt and was replaced by Bushell-Beatty. Ben Braden was hurt to start the year, so Kugler and Bredeson played in his place. That’s three backup offensive linemen who played at significant moments, and one (Bredeson) became a full-time starter. That’s not mentioning all the garbage-time snaps the backup OL ate up last year.

      • Comments: 666
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Aug 11, 2017 at 9:16 AM

        It doesn’t matter who plays garbage time snaps. By definition, they have no impact on game outcomes.

        And as noted, injury possibility factors in the same for pretty much everyone, so it cancels out in comparing players’ importance, maybe with a stretch for a position like RB.

        Does it really make sense to put Ruiz only one spot below Dwumfour? We KNOW that Dwumfour will get some prime time rotation snaps even if he doesn’t start, and that how well he plays will have an actual influence on the outcome of games. If Ruiz isn’t projected as a starter, how well he plays when he comes in won’t. Yes, if Kugler gets hurt, Ruiz’ importance increases, but if Hurst gets hurt, Dwumfour’s increases just as much.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3460
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Aug 11, 2017 at 10:51 AM

          The top backup OL is more important than the top backup DL in most years. The top backup OL, in most years, backs up 5 positions.* That means there is a high probability he will start games at some point. Barring unusually good luck, the #6 preseason OL will be starting against Ohio State.

          I do agree that it’s too high for Ruiz because we simply don’t know if he’s the #6 OL yet. I think it’s Runyan most likely. It could be Onwenu, or Filiaga…we don’t know yet.

          Dwumfour deserves to be higher (and is) because his position is more set.

          *This is because Bredeson and Cole in particular can be moved around as needed. They’re going to play their best 5, as they’ve done each year. Positions are flexible on the OL, much as we’d all like a protype at LT, OC, etc.

  3. Lanknows
    Comments: 3460
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Aug 10, 2017 at 7:15 PM

    I think it’s a stretch to put Ruiz over Bushel-Beatty and Runyan — one of them looks likely to be a starter.

    Ruiz could get there I suppose but it’s very rare for a freshman OC to start. The few guys that have done it go on to win Rimington’s as you outlined in your review of #1 C recruits.

    After all the hype that Kugler and Kalis got for being super-ready, I’m not willing to anoint a true freshman OL as a top 25 player. That Ruiz is ‘pushing’ for a starting spot is an indictment of Onwenu and Kugler more than anything else. A worrying indicator… if it’s at all true. The rumors that Kalis was ready to start but-for his red-shirt proved to be total BS.

    • Comments: 2172
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Aug 10, 2017 at 8:47 PM

      …and yet some think Bushell-Beatty will start, and some think Runyan will start. So does either one really matter that much?

      Meanwhile, Ruiz might earn a starting gig, but he also could be the sixth lineman and/or the #1 backup at LG, C, and RG. Nobody else is really earning mentions on the inside. Also, Kugler has had shoulder problems in the past, and you never know if those will pop up again.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3460
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Aug 11, 2017 at 10:20 AM

        You’re saying a starter is less valuable than a backup because the starter might have a backup?

        We don’t know who OLs #3-6 are. But between Onwenu, Ruiz, Runyan, and JBB there are two starting spots. Only 2 of them can start at RT. 3 of them can start at RG.

        The argument that Ruiz backs up 3 positions is fine, but the loser of the RT battle will back up 2, maybe 3 (if it’s Runyan).

        A potential starter backing up 2 to 3 positions is more important than a backup at 2 to 3 positions.

        Again – we can argue Ruiz has a chance to be a starter just like Onwenu, JBB, and Runyan but we also know that as a true freshman that’s not likely.

  4. Comments: 8
    Joined: 4/20/2017
    Mich1993
    Aug 11, 2017 at 11:34 PM

    I would move Runyan up to this spot and put Ruiz in Runyan’s spot. My logic is that not only is Runyan 50/50 to start at RT (I think he will), he also is potentially the top back-up guard. In my opinion, if Onwenu or Brederson got hurt, Runyan would be as good or better than Ruiz to fill in. Haven’t heard that Runyan plays center, so a Kugler injury would make Ruiz more important, but I think that’s the only scenario.

    All of them are in the right neighborhood. We have to get 2 reasonable players out of Ruiz/Runyan/JBB (1 starter, 1 back-up that will end up playing).

  5. Comments: 54
    Joined: 4/4/2017
    umbig11
    Aug 12, 2017 at 6:00 AM

    Josh Uche injured and on crutches. No idea what exactly ails him yet. It’s a recent development as he was practicing very well.

    • Comments: 137
      Joined: 9/15/2015
      ragingbull
      Aug 12, 2017 at 8:55 AM

      shame for uche, hopefully not too serious.
      but if thats the extent of non sprain / bump type injuries after 2 weeks of camp thats not too bad. hopefully they remain fortunate in that area and arrive at florida game with mostly healthy roster, obviously

  6. Lanknows
    Comments: 3460
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Aug 13, 2017 at 11:05 AM

    Boiling it all down Quote from Harbaugh presser is no surprise but also not encouraging:

    “Offensively, we just keep honing in on that offensive line and that’s where we’re at offensively.”

    This came after praising all the other positions.

    • Comments: 678
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      je93
      Aug 13, 2017 at 12:07 PM

      The BTN guys were clear in saying the DL was way ahead of our OL. No surprise though, right?

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3460
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Aug 13, 2017 at 2:04 PM

        No surprise at all unless that includes the backup DL.

        DL vs OL not the issue here – the comments were about OL vs WR/RB/TE. The contrast in tone in Harbaughs comments is striking. We’re breaking in new starters, in most cases YOUNG new starters, at each of those positions.

        Meanwhile at OL: JBB, Kugler, Runyan, and Cole are not young anymore. Ulizio is another upperclassmen. So, if things were going well on the OL it should not be the problem spot that Harbaugh is pointing to.

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