DeMatha senior Brock Ruble signed to play with Florida State on Wednesday (Doug Kapustin/The Washington Post)

Brock Ruble / DeMatha / OL / 6-9, 320

At six feet nine, 300-plus pounds, Brock Ruble is used to being the center of attention when he steps into a room. But during Wednesday’s National Signing Day ceremony at DeMatha, the senior offensive lineman blended in as one player among a band of football standouts set to finalize their college futures.

Twenty members of the DeMatha football team, which won the WCAC championship this past fall, signed letters of intent to play either football, soccer or lacrosse at the next level. Ruble, who faxed his letter to Florida State’s coaches this morning, was flanked by the likes of All-Met receiver Cameron Phillips (Virginia Tech), running back Mark Allen (Penn State), defensive end Deonte Holden (N.C. State) and Wisconsin recruits Taiwan Deal and Chris Jones, the first athletes to sign with the Badgers in DeMatha’s storied sports history.

“You hear about it, but then you sit down and look to your left and look to your right, and you really appreciate how amazing this year was and this class was,” Ruble said. “It was just special and I’m glad that I could be a part of.”

To give you an idea of how big this class was, here’s a wide shot from the ceremony that barely fits in all 20 players. One DeMatha official jokingly said it was the school’s version of “The Last Supper”:


Since joining the varsity team as a sophomore, Ruble has vastly improved his footwork, quickness and savvy on the offensive line. This past season, he helped pave the way for DeMatha to rush for 2,564 yards and win the WCAC championship.

After garnering offers from Maryland, Ohio State, Florida and South Carolina, among others, Ruble committed to reigning BCS national champion Florida State in December. By doing so, the senior will follow a similar path as his father, Gary, who also competed as an offensive lineman in the ACC for North Carolina during the 1980s.

Likewise, Deal hopes future members of DeMatha’s brotherhood can follow in the footsteps of he and Jones now that they have opened a pipeline up to Big Ten power Wisconsin.

“It feels great to be the first to ever actually go to Wisconsin to play football,” Deal said. “We look to do great things down there, me and Chris. And we hope that Wisconsin will recruit more from DeMatha now.”

Deal rushed for 1,098 yards and 12 touchdowns last year to earn All-Met and Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year honors. Though he committed to Wisconsin back in June, the senior admitted to being nervous in the hours before Signing Day, resulting in a mostly sleepless night before arising to fax in his letter at 7:15 a.m.

Just as excited were his parents, who are shown below with Deal. On the right is his mother, who is sporting perhaps the coolest piece of memorabilia from the local Signing Day scene with her Badger knit cap.


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