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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Dionté Ruffin, CB, Western Kentucky

Dionté Ruffin is a speedy cornerback out of Western Kentucky University. He recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
  • Name: Dionté Ruffin
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 184 lbs
  • Position: CB
  • College: Western Kentucky University
  • Twitter: @not_worrieddd
  • Instagram: geauxruffin

Talk about your experience as a student. What is your major/minor? Did you participate in any other activities or campus organizations other than football?
My major is in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Business and Marketing. One of the most fun activities that I was able to participate in was as a mentor at a local elementary school. I was able to help kids with their homework, sometimes I’d bring them lunch and I’d often spend time playing with them.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
My best physical attribute is my speed and ability to change direction. Another good quality is that I am a vocal leader. I am able to communicate well with my teammates on the field.

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
I didn’t redshirt at Western Kentucky, and I’ve played every game since being there. As a freshman, I mainly played special teams. Although, I took the most snaps of my career in our Bowl game that year. I’ve played everywhere on special teams including return specialist, gunner and on field goal blocks. I was able to recover 2 blocked kicks in 2020.

I was a 2-time full year starter on defense. I have the ability to play inside or outside corner in the pros. We played a lot of man coverages at Western Kentucky and also played zone. I’ve had some good results in both schemes.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
One of the players that earned my respect was MTSU WR Jarrin Pierce. We had a lot of good battles. He’s got a good quick twitch and solid hands.

UAB’s WR Austin Watkins was another player that I regularly played against in our conference. He’s got a big frame that he uses well on contested catches. I’ve watched a lot of tape on him. He’s a grit and grind type of receiver.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
DeAngelo Malone and I came in together. His ability jumps off the screen. I watched him come in as a small player, and he had the will and determination to put on the weight and get better every day.

Antwon Kincaid is a great teammate to have in the secondary. He’s versatile enough to play all over the field. He always plays with a chip on his shoulder. His football IQ sets him apart from other players.

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
One of my biggest struggles had to be Hurricane Katrina. My family was going to lose our home, and we had to pack up and move before it all hit. It was hard seeing a lot of destruction where I lived. There were people standing on their roofs with their families begging for help. We ended up moving from Kenner, Louisiana to a Best Western in Georgia. We stayed at the hotel for a long time until my family was able to get back on their feet. It just goes to show that all you have can be taken away at any minute.

I’ve lost a lot of people in my life. Even though those are very emotional times, they’ve helped build my character. I lost my brother on May 3, 2015. I was shocked that he died of a heart issue because he was so athletic. And no more than a month later, I lost a high school teammate tragically in a car accident. Going through those losses, you have to learn how to cope. Going through my struggles have helped mold me into who I am today. It has given me an appreciation for the little things in life that are often taken for granted.

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
I participated in basketball and track & field in high school. I lettered in basketball my sophomore and junior years. I participated in track all 4 years of high school. I would probably pursue it. I went to the State Championship for 3 years. I also hold the school record in the high jump at 6’5”.

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
I am on pace to graduate this coming May, and that has to be my biggest achievement. Being the first in my family to graduate from college is something that I’m proud of.

I finished playing at Western Kentucky with my best statistical season. I was named once to the PFF National Team of the Week, and I was also one of the top defenders in the country in PBUs with a total of 11.

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.
Our game against BYU wasn’t our best overall game, but I had one of my best moments that was seen by everybody on ESPN. We were down a lot and hadn’t scored all game. There were just too many little things that didn’t go our way. Zach Wilson was on the far hash, and I didn’t expect him to make the throw. He had committed a cardinal sin of throwing the ball to the opposite side of the field. He put a lot of air under it, and I stepped in front of the receiver making the interception taking the ball 28 yards down the field to the 3-yard line. I put us in the position to finally give us our first score of the game.

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
Being from Louisiana, I am a diehard Saints fan and member of Who Dat Nation. I watch players like Denzel Ward who is very technical and has good feet. Tre’Davious White is one of the best all-around DBs in the league. I also like to watch Stephon Gilmore who’s very physical and puts in a lot of technical work.

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
I’m a big fan of Kevin Gates. Before games, I usually listen to NBA YoungBoy or JayDa Youngan.

What is your favorite comfort food?
I love BBQ ribs. Smokey Bones in Bowling Green, Kentucky has some of the best ribs in the world.

Do you have a favorite movie, TV show or actor?
My favorite TV Show is South Park. One of my favorite movies is Get Rich or Die Trying with 50 Cent. Jim Carrey is one of the actors that I like.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
I like music. I have an acoustic guitar that I’m a bit rusty at since I haven’t played in a while. I enjoy spending time with my family. I also like to play video games like Call of Duty.

Why do you play football? Who or what motivates you the most?
I play because it runs in the family. Luckily, my playing days have gone the longest, and I plan to carry on that tradition. I also play because I want to make my brother happy. I want to represent him and my family to the best of my ability.

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