Jabari Ruffin signs letter of intent with USC

DOWNEY – Downey High senior linebacker Jabari Ruffin signed his letter of intent to play football, beginning in the 2012 season, for the University of Southern California.

Ruffin signed his letter of intent on Wednesday, which is known as National Signing Day across the country, a day in which many high school athletes sign a letter of intent to the school they plan to attend.

"For USC fans, be ready for the commitment that I'll bring forth, the work ethic, and the hard work," Ruffin said.

Since Ruffin verbally committed to USC on March 2, 2011, he has visited the USC campus with other recruits several times to look at some of the things the program has to offer and to get to know other incoming freshman and his future Trojan teammates.

Ruffin will be part of the first recruiting class to join the football team under program-imposed scholarship limitations due to NCAA sanctions.

Ruffin, who is ranked as the top outside linebacker in the country, feels he is ready to contribute to the Trojans as early as next season.

"I have no intentions to red shirt (while at USC), I am going to come in and make an impact right away," Ruffin said.

Ruffin was also selected as a team captain for the West team in the U.S. Army All American Bowl that took place on Jan. 7, an all star game that involves many of the top high-school football players in the country.

"I did not expect to be a captain but they said I stood out as a leader with my performance." Ruffin said

The captains for both the East and West teams were voted on by both players and coaches for their respective teams.

After the returning to California from Texas, where the All American game was held, he said he felt blessed to have participated in the game, with some of the country's best athletes.

"I was blessed to have a starting spot, I came back excited, it was a very humbling experience," Ruffin said.

Past participates in the game have been players such as Eagles quarterback Vince Young, Dolphins running back Reggie Bush, and Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

Along with playing in the game itself, the players got to meet many current NFL players.

Ruffin said he was impacted by the words of Chiefs safety Eric Berry, who said to "separate yourself and be that guy. Be different."

Ruffin has already began to feel the warm welcome from his coaches and by Trojan players, who are currently on the team, including wide receivers George Farmer and Robert Woods.

Despite the excitement of signing day, Ruffin had a heavy heart as his grandfather died a day earlier.

"He was a (huge) USC fan, and I plan to dedicate my first game at USC to him," Ruffin said.

Ruffin said he is appreciative of the support he has received locally, both in football and at school.

“Thanks to my family and everyone in Downey for their support and a special thanks to (Downey High head football coach) Jack Williams,“ Ruffin said.