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Spring Football Update on Former Stallions

Caleb Mayfield, Kim Adams, and Jordan McElveen

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Eli Adams Embraces His New Environment at Virginia Tech

Ranked 53rd in the nation and 18th overall in South Carolina, South Pointe defensive end Eli Adams went for an official visit to N.C. State June 9, 2017. One big reason Adams considered the Wolf Pack was because of Nick McCloud, a former cornerback from South Pointe High School.

The 5-foot,11 inch and 230 pounds Eli Adams went up to Raleigh, N.C., in a dark green suburban with his grandfather, mom, and dad, while his siblings, Nick Adams, Da’Neil Adams, and Kim Adams rode in the light brown KIA.

Adams and his family got out underneath the hot summer sun and saw the granite athletic building, gorgeous flowers surrounding it. They walked in and took a tour.

Afterwards, Adams and his family went in a meeting with the athletic director to talk about internships, what classes he’d be taking, and his business major.

They had a football camp going on and Adams and his family went to watch the kids and talk to other coaches in the humid weather.

He immediately saw McCloud and the other players playing loud music. The whole practice field was bumping and was full of people jamming and eating slushies.

After the coaches were done, they finally came to the Adams family.

“N.C. State was a beautiful school, it just wasn’t Virginia Tech,” Adams explains.

Adams and his family got back in their dark green suburban and headed for Virginia while his granddad headed back home to Hopkins, S.C.

“The ride was long, but I was ready to be back at VT,” Adams said.

Adams had been to VT for games and camps and loved the atmosphere and how he and his family were always welcomed.

Adams and his siblings Nick, Neil, and Kim were knocked out and exhausted, while his mom were in the front, mom controlling the GPS, dad driving.

Going to their huge room of the Holiday Inn, Adams’s siblings were excited to finally see VT for the first time. Adams was excited to commit to the gorgeous castle-like school.

The next morning the Adams family woke up early and got dressed, going to the bookstore to get shirts for themselves.

His siblings knew VT was his choice. They felt the happy atmosphere Adams was always talking about. Everybody smiled and spoke to you as you walked by and you could just feel the positive energy.

Nick and Neil got purple VT visors with purple VT shirts that said “Virginia Tech” in orange in the middle. His dad got the same shirt as them. Kim got grey and black Nike spandex with VT at the bottom to wear for volleyball.

Adams and his family all tumbled back in the truck and everybody changed. Kim and Adams’ mom Nikki stayed in what there were wearing.

“They were all dressed down in VT when I seen them, I loved it” said Head Coach Justin Fuente.

They walked in the vast and spacious athletic building while a prospect camp was going on.

The Adams family came in to see a boxed in flat screen showing video from the game and the players touching the stone at the top before they ran out on the football field. Every seat in the Lane football stadium was filled with fans and alumni springing up and down like little kids in a bouncy house.

Looking around, Adams’ siblings saw oversized helmets and rings from bowls they played in, and then they came to a huge glass window overlooking the practice field, and just beyond it, the impressive stadium.

Defensive coordinator Bud Foster came in and greeted Adams and his family and walked them to he and Coach Fuente’s office. The “living room” of their office had two mannequins dressed up ready for a football game, two sizable relaxing couches, and a flat screen with a football game on.

Going into Coach Fuente’s office, it looked just like the other room but with a desk and a computer. Adams was ready to surprise him with Virginia Tech’s second commit of the day.

Adams’ siblings were meeting him for the first time and loved him. He asked them about themselves. Coach Fuente always wondered where Adams got his talents from. His dad started on the story about him playing for Northwestern and running two touchdowns in a championship game.

Adams was all smiles when he got his turn to say, “Coach, I love this school and I’m ready to commit.”

Coach Fuente was stunned and sat there for five seconds staring at Adams while his family was laughing and proud.

“Really? That’s awesome man!” Coach Fuente was mind blown. Running out of the office he told Foster and Foster hugged Adams and ran to the other coaches.

In the narrow hallway they all walked out the office as all the coaches were pumped and running out of the meeting room to dap Adams up.

“I have to take you on my 50-year-old tour,” said Coach Foster.

Along with other players on six-seat golf carts, Adams got in a cart with his mom and dad. His siblings rode with alumni Jack Tyler.

They were shown the Hokie Stones arranged in a semicircle memorializing the people killed 10 years ago in the school shooting with their names engraved. Adams and his family also got to see the War Memorial, with the eight limestone pylons and the stone building that overlooks it all.

Adams loved the history behind the campus, nestled in the mountains, like he loved the friendliness of all the people he had met. After committing, he instantly felt more welcome.

After the long tour, every family there that went on the tour piled into the Dietrick Hall. It was very spacious and you could smell all the food they were serving–pulled chicken, pulled pork, macaroni, baked beans, bread rolls, and extra bbq sauce for your chicken and pork. Coach Foster and Eli sat together and talked about when he was coming back and his position.

They were done eating and were ready to get on the road. Coach Fuente and Foster walked them out.

The 3-star recruit tagged, “I’m ready to get up there and prove my hard work and just be a Hokie.”

Adams finished his last semester at South Pointe in December, clinching a fourth state championship.

He then went up to Virginia Tech to officially start school Jan.12. He now studies the linebacker and defensive end position along with a busy schedule: classes, mandatory study hall for each class, and workouts.

Adams has been transitioning from high school football to college football with bigger workouts and bigger meals; he’s gained 30 pounds.

When he visited South Pointe in February, Virginia Tech had become a cold hard reality, not just a fairy tale, despite the castle-like buildings there.  Adams made it clear he can’t stand the weather, but still loves the school.

“It snows every day, literally every day,” Adams said. “It is SO much colder there than here, y’all have no idea,” he laughed.

From “8Ball” to jersey number 46, Adams is ready for the spring game tomorrow.

“Yeah, I’m ready for it. I can’t wait to make my dream come to reality playing in my first college game. I’m just going to soak in the moment and have fun.”

 

Heart over Height: Greg Ruff

 

The legend of Greg Ruff starts early in his life at a Thursday night pee wee football game. Ruff and his Green Dragons elementary school team had a game every week so you would think that this would be a normal game for him. But it wasn’t.

This was the first game Ruff wore eye tape under his eye to make him feel like he had an advantage over his opponent. The pee wee coach said if he was going to wear the eye tape, Ruff had to give him two touchdowns. By the end of the game after a win Ruff didn’t have two touchdowns.

He had three.

That’s pretty much normal for former Stallion quarterback/current Newberry College quarterback Greg Ruff.

Always exceeding expectations.

Standing at 5 feet, 7 inches, 185 pounds, Ruff clearly isn’t the biggest or strongest player on the field. But with the combination of how fast he is, the quickness he moves with and the elusiveness he has, he holds his own out there. Also, he plays quarterback. Quarterbacks are usually over 6 foot, 3 inches, so for Ruff to be able to compete against 6 foot 3 inches and over, 250 pound and over defensive players that are constantly coming after him and trying to hurt him as badly as they can, he does very well. But with being this height, there was and will always be doubters and haters.

“He’s too little.”

“He can’t even see over the people blocking for him.”

“All he can do is run.”

That’s all that Ruff’s heard most of his life. Especially when he went to high school. But the first step in his process to prove the haters wrong came in his sophomore year at South Pointe in week six of the 2013 season.

Ruff was asked if he would like to be the back-up quarterback on the varsity football team. This opportunity happened after the starting quarterback was arrested early in the varsity season and with Ruff being the quarterback of the junior varsity team, it was only right. However, Ruff was very hesitant.

It was the day before the biggest game of the year. The Stallions were going to play the crosstown rival Northwestern Trojans and with no type of preparation, Ruff didn’t know if he could do it. On the other hand, his chances of playing were slim and he was there just in case the quarterback in front of him went down.

He agreed, and the next day, under the Friday night lights, they South Pointe got blown out 27-0 in front of their home crowd. Even though Ruff didn’t play, he was given a taste of how varsity football really was. Also he was one of the few sophomores that were on varsity the varsity football team so some of his peers looked at him different.

Fast forward to 2014, Ruff’s junior year. After a great summer of working out to be ready to start week one of the upcoming season, Ruff found out he would be the back-up yet again. But Ruff stayed humble. Then, Sept. 19 was the day. The Stallions entered the game 2-2 with a two game losing streak against, once again, crosstown rival Northwestern Trojans. Going into the game, Ruff didn’t expect to play.

However, things changed.

The Stallions got down 20-0. The crowd behind the South Pointe bench was a bit mad because of the fact that they were losing.

“Put Greg in!!!”

“What are you [coaches] doing?”

That went on for most of the game until their prayers were answered. The starting QB at the time caught a cramp and Ruff got his chance. From then on, the life of Greg Ruff completely changed.

When Ruff came in, it was towards the end of third quarter and the Stallions fans were anxious for some type of come back. A calm and collected Ruff went onto the field with no pressure. They were already down by 20, he was the junior QB who has never been in this type of predicament, and he had nothing to lose. If he were to come into the game and mess up, there would be some understanding based on those facts.

But he didn’t.

First drive of him being on the field for the Stallions and he throws a short touchdown to wide receiver Josh Wilkes making the score 6-20. Ruff was feeling it, scoring 20 more points in the fourth quarter by throwing 3 more touchdowns.

However, the score was 26-27 Northwestern. And with the culmination of the Stallions having nothing to lose barring the fact that they entered on a 2-game losing streak in this bitter rivalry, having outscored the opponent 26-7 in the second half and having the Trojans somewhat on their heels at their home stadium, the Stallions went for the win: an attempt to win the game on a 2-point conversion.

Again, the junior backup QB, as cool as the other side of the pillow, steps up behind the center and prepares to hike the ball.

DOWN.

SET.

And he claps for the ball. He rolls out the pocket and throws the ball into a tight space, but the way he throws it, makes it catchable. The whole stadium is silent except the players on the field. The Stallion wide receiver lays out and tries to catch it.

It’s incomplete

Trojans up by one.

The whole other side of the stadium away from the Stallions goes crazy. As for the South Pointe side, agony and disappointment.

The stallions try to go for an onside kick but the Trojans recover and take a knee on the next possession.

Game over.

“I was just in shock,” said Ruff.

But that game was the start of a long journey. A journey that led to a chance to win a state championship the same year.

After the loss to the Trojans, the Stallions went on a 9-game win streak to enter the championship and like butter, Ruff was on a roll. And it showed on the biggest stage of high school football. Ruff had 142 yards and three touchdowns in a 21-7 win over lower state champion Hartsville in the 3A state title game at Williams Brice Stadium in Columbia. Ruff proved the doubters wrong once again. He went on to do the same his senior year.

Ruff started the year off wonderfully. Led the Stallions on a 4-game winning streak entering the crosstown rival game. Everybody thought the stallions had this game in the bag this year. And the way the Stallions dominated them at the start of the game, it sure seemed like it. But ‘it ain’t over until the fat lady sings’. The Trojans came back in the second half out the game and forced it into an overtime. They score first in the overtime and then the Stallions scored. However, Stallions decide to go for two and the win at home.

Almost the same exact scenario that happened a year before right?

Ruff was poised this time though. He wasn’t going to let them steal this game from him. He jogged onto the field with the crowd on this side and cheering for him.

“C’mon Stallions lets close this thing out.” said his mom.

She was probably the loudest out of the crowd as always.

He took the snap and rolled out of the pocket. Everyone in the crowd had a déjà vu moment for a quick second because it was reminiscent to the play they had ran last year to try and win the game. Ruff sees a wide open receiver in the back of the end zone and throws it to him with a touch as soft as a baby’s bottom. The tables were finally going to turn and the Stallions finally got the Stallions were going to break the two year skid against the Trojans.

But that joyous feeling lasted shorter than a split second.

Incomplete.

The receiver dropped the ball.

35-34 loss in overtime to the Trojans and the opposing side went bonkers.

For the home fans, palms in face, heads down, just pure disbelief is what you would’ve seen.

Those two losses to the same team in two years still stick with Ruff. But that didn’t get him down and he finished the year on another winning streak where it really matters in region play and another state championship.

With his high school career over there was only one decision left–where to play collegiate football? The thing is, not a lot of schools took their chance on Ruff because of his size. But one school did. Newberry wanted Ruff and they wanted him to play his natural position at quarterback. So that where Ruff went. Newberry was the perfect place for him. Not too big of a school but somewhere he could really prove himself and make the doubters into believers.

So on a day that a lot of seniors didn’t even come to school, aka “senior skip day,” Greg Ruff came through those doors of South Pointe. In a white collared long sleeve shirt, khakis and some Sperry’s, Ruff entered the library and sat down in front of his closest friends, family, and football teammates. As he signed his letter of intent to play with the Newberry Wolves, he felt a sense of happiness.

“[I] was glad the recruitment process was over,” said Ruff. That part was indeed over, but that was only one part of it.

Ruff’s first year in college he got redshirted and couldn’t play the game he had played since he was 5 for a year. But this was just the usual for him, in terms of how his path to greatness had not ever been straight.

“I was going through the same thing I was in high school,” Ruff said.

Ruff didn’t like it, but he respected it and remained humble. He worked hard going into his second year of college just like his sophomore year going to junior year at South Pointe, and it somewhat paid off.

In the second game of his sophomore collegiate season Ruff scored his first college touchdown. Ruff and another quarterback would split possessions from time to time in the game based on coaches’ decisions. So when Ruff’s coach ‘Swag’ put him in the game, he knew what time it was.

Ruff hiked the ball, stepped up in the pocket and threw a 30-yard pass to wide receiver Dalton Brown for the touchdown.

Ruff was hype and the first person to celebrate with him on the sideline was his high school teammate and longtime friend Nick Yearwood.  Ruff and the Wolves went on to lose that game by a touchdown, but he changed some of the coaches’ minds after that game.

Greg Ruff stretches out with this teammates before the start of practice.

That year he proceeded to be great and throw 13 touchdowns with 0 interceptions. Going into his junior year as a redshirt sophomore and hopefully the starting quarterback, Ruff feels he can lead this team to a great seasons filled with a lot of wins and a national championship. And based on his past, there isn’t a doubt in anyone’s mind that he can’t do it.

 

Derion Kendrick Continues to Impress the Clemson Coaching Staff

Coming off a minor hamstring injury, Clemson freshman Derion Kendrick continues to thrive under pressure. The early graduate quickly caught head coach Dabo Swinney’s attention early in spring practices at WR. He “just has this explosiveness about him,” Swinney told the media.

With the spring game Saturday Kendrick is about as prepared as they come. Despite his hamstring sprain he has been able to snag some great passes right out of the air. He says if he’s at 100% on Saturday, he is going to “give it his all and give the fans a show”. Not only will he be participating in this year’s spring game, he will also be attending his senior prom back at South Pointe High School directly after the game and post-game festivities.

The annual spring game will be aired lived on ESPN beginning at 2:30. Swinney has been encouraging everyone to come out and support his Tigers in what will be a slight preview of what this Top 25 team has in store for the season.

Clemson freshman Derion Kendrick, now number 10 as a tiger, poses with Clemson business professor Bill Tumblin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spring Football Update on Former Stallions