Michigan's Cesar Ruiz, Nico Collins in holding pattern on whether they'll enter NFL Draft

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Winter Park, Fla. — Michigan center Cesar Ruiz and receiver Nico Collins are among those still considering whether to return for their final seasons with the Wolverines or begin preparations for the NFL Draft.

Both said after the Wolverines’ practice Saturday that they are focused on the Citrus Bowl against Alabama on New Year’s Day and will talk to their families after the game to make this decision.

Ruiz is a two-year starter at center and made five starts at right guard his freshman year. Offensive line coach Ed Warinner has praised Ruiz’ smarts and ability while coaching him these past two years, as he has become a vital cog for an improving line. Collins, meanwhile, is a big-bodied, 6-foot-4, 222-pound physical receiver. He is second on the team with 681 yards receiving and seven touchdowns and causes matchup headaches for opposing defenses.

Michigan offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz

“That’s not really important to me right now,” Ruiz said Saturday when asked if he has made a decision about this future. “We’re focused on winning this game. After this game, me and my family will talk to coach and will make a decision from there. But right now, we’re worried about this game and worried about beating Alabama.”

Collins said he also will rely on his family to make a determination.

“I’m not sure yet,” Collins said. “I’m just sitting down with my family after the game and have a dinnertime discussion about my future. Just sit down with my family, pros and cons.”

What might some of those be?

“The what-ifs,” he said. “How do I feel about it? Am I ready? Things like that. I see it like a recruiting process coming to college.”

If Ruiz leaves, Michigan will have to replace four starters on the offensive line — left tackle Jon Runyan, left guard Ben Bredeson and right guard Michael Onwenu have all exhausted their eligibility.

“I feel like my game has evolved a lot,” Ruiz said. “From freshman year starting guard to now, I feel like I’ve matured a lot, made a lot of improvements in my game, switched back to my normal position. I just feel like I’ve improved and matured a lot, been able to take a lot of responsibility and become more of a leader.”

Defensive end Kwity Paye and tight end Nick Eubanks announced this week they will return for their final seasons. Cornerback Ambry Thomas on Friday said he hasn’t made a decision whether he will back at Michigan for the 2020 season.

Michigan wide receiver Nico Collins

“I’m happy for those guys, that they’re coming back,” Ruiz said. “I love them (Paye and Eubanks) both. Everybody makes their own decisions. It’s just what you feel is right.”

Collins has had a fine resume this season but said he wasn’t sure how a strong showing against Alabama might affect his decision-making.

“I’m just enjoying this Florida weather with this team, the seniors that’s about to leave,” Collins said. “Just enjoying the ride and having fun with it.”


Twitter: @chengelis