Long Beach poly football schedule Senior offensive lineman Tyson Ruffins said the hardest part of playing high school football was the COVID season, which was postponed from fall 2020 to a condensed spring season in 2021.
"Trying to come back and recover from those and work through all the struggles that it put us through academically, physically and mentally," Ruffins shared.
So when he was named to the All-American Bowl last month and received his jersey on Thursday, Dec. 1, he knew all his hard work had paid off.
"It's something I've been looking forward to for a big part of my life, ever since I've been in football and heard about the honor myself," Ruffins said.
Ruffins, a three-star recruit, said he was humbled by the national recognition and invitation to play in the 2023 All-American Bowl, an annual East vs. West matchup on Jan. 7 in San Antonio, Texas. . The bowl will be nationally televised by NBC at 10 a.m. (PST) and will feature the nation's top 100 high school football players.
"It's great, especially where I come from; it's been a really long journey, a tough journey, so it's an amazing thing that I think I'm getting recognized for what I've been doing for a long time," Ruffins said.
"Recognition is definitely warranted," Long Beach Poly coach Stephen Barbee said. “When this program was launched a few years ago, it was very common... For Tyson, this is his second National All-Star Game and his first time being invited to the Polynesian Bowl. "It's a testament to the kids' hard work, that the coaches have worked with them for four years and will be able to coach them to a level where they are nationally recognized as America's best."
The 6-foot-3, 305-pound team captain for Poly said the best part of playing high school football is getting to know his teammates and coaching staff.
"Obviously, the bond I've been able to build with these players and coaches," Ruffins explained. "It's amazing to have all these kids that I never knew become big parts of my life in a matter of months." "I think these relationships are definitely going to be lifelong and lasting."
Ruffins finished his career at Poly with much acclaim. He helped the team win the CIF Southern Section Division 4 Championship in 2021, its first CIF-SS title since 2012. He was named to the All-Moore League team as a sophomore, junior, and senior and was selected to the Press-Telegram Dream. Team.
"It means a lot," Ruffins said when asked about his postseason honor. "I've always wanted to be one of the greats -- I'm not there yet," he says. "I've done a lot in my career so far, but I definitely don't want to stop here."
Even though Ruffins is an unlikely recruit, many Division I schools, including several Ivy League schools, have offered him a scholarship. He said being named an All-American is a humbling opportunity he doesn't take lightly.
"It will be a great test for me to go against these different Power 5/DI school kids and test myself against them and see what I need to work on at the next level," Ruffins said.
"Tyson has done nothing but dominate anyone he's played against," Barbee said. "When you consider his entire body of work from his sophomore, junior, and senior years, as well as how he performs in the classroom and when you get to know him, what an incredible young man he is." He's going to be an incredible pickup for whatever university he goes to.
Ruffins believes he's a Power 5 lineman, and he's ready to prove it at the All-American Bowl.
"I believe trust and confidence are big parts of the game," he said. "If you're not confident, you won't be successful or go as far as you can."
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