After a brief hiccup, Mississippi State football will get a kicker instead of a surprise kick in the arse. Presumably.
In early October, Brandon Ruiz announced on Twitter that he had decided to transfer from Arizona State. Almost two months to the day later, Ruiz utilized the same social media service to announce that he had decided to transfer into the Mississippi State football program.
Late last week, however, it was reported that Ruiz would be flipping his commitment from MSU to Louisiana. But wait, there’s more.
Tuesday, 247Sports.com reported that Ruiz now plans to honor his original commitment to Mississippi State football and play for the Bulldogs. The placekicker confirmed as much to the website.
“I am still going to Mississippi State,” said Ruiz. “It wasn’t that big of a deal and it was just some miscommunication. I talked to the Mississippi State coaches and everything is fine again. It’s all good now and I will be going to Mississippi State.”
While the player described the kerfuffle as a “miscommunication,” a source told the Lafayette Daily Advertiser that Ruiz essentially used the Ragin’ Cajuns as leverage.
Graduate transfers are not required to sign National Letters of Intent, as is the case with high school signees.
But the paperwork Ruiz signed was a “financial aid agreement” with UL, the Cajuns source said. Ruiz “enrolled and was accepted at multiple institutions.
“He was trying to make Mississippi State commit to him in some form or fashion, and we were his out,” the UL source said.
As of yet, Mississippi State has not confirmed (again) Ruiz’s addition to the roster.
As he (probably) heads to Starkville as a graduate transfer, Ruiz will be eligible to play immediately for the Bulldogs in 2020.
Ruiz, who had originally committed to Alabama before flipping to ASU, served as the Sun Devils primary kicker in both 2017 and 2018. In those two seasons, the Arizona native connected on 37-of-49 field goal attempts (75.5 percent) and 94-of-95 point-afters.
A lower-body injury had sidelined Ruiz for the first month-plus of the 2019 season, with sophomore Cristian Zendejas taking over the job in his absence. This season, Zendejas made all but one of his 30 extra-point attempts and went 23-of-27 on field goals.