Manny Rugamba was born on March 10, 1998. He attended Naperville High School in Naperville, Illinois. He stands at 6’0″ and 190 pounds. Rugamba originally spent most of his time at Iowa University but transferred in 2019 to Miami University of Ohio. Due to the uncertainty of COVID-19, he has opted out of the 2020 season to focus on and enter the 2021 NFL Draft.
Strengths for Rugamba:
One of the things that immediately jumps off the tape when you first watch Rugamba is his toughness and his physicality. He is fantastic at supporting the run. One of the best things he does is squeeze running lanes and aid in tackling the ball carrier. He is fantastic at man coverage. To start off with, he does a good job at jamming the receiver at the line of scrimmage to help manipulate where he wants the receiver to go. He is fantastic at jamming, pushing to the sideline, and then staying with his man through the route.
Rugamba can stay with any man that he is put against, even guys who are bigger than he is. He does a decent job at zone coverage. He has great closing speed to hit his man when they catch the ball. Rugamba is great with ball skills. He does not have a lot of interceptions under his belt. Last season he only had one interception but he did have nine passes defended.
Weaknesses for Rugamba:
A weakness that Rugamba really needs to work on is play recognition; specifically deciphering play actions. Several times he has bitten on a play action, leaving the zone he is responsible for wide open. Sometimes he gets burned and other times he gets lucky. Regardless, this is a flaw he needs to work on. I am curious about his ability to back pedal. When he is lined up in a zone defense, he doesn’t do a straight back pedal. He does almost an angled shuffle to the left, right, or middle. He does this to put himself in a better position for him to make a break on the ball. However, this is not exactly the best technique and will likely be corrected in the pros.
Typically on zone plays he gives about five yards of cushion, which for him seems like too much for short throws, and too little for deep throws. Unsure if that is coaching or personal preference. Lastly, he could use better form on his tackling. The majority of Rugamba’s tackles are drag tackles and not wrap ups. This causes some ball carriers to slip through his fingers, and he can whiff at times
The Bottom Line:
The bottom line is that Rugumba is a good corner with really strong potential for the next level. He has a good height for the position and he has a decent weight; it still would not hurt or put on a few pounds. The way he can bother a receiver with his man coverage is fun to watch. There is no doubt that NFL teams will be attracted to this. The only issue that I see with him is there is not a consistent use of back pedal and a swivel of his hips to adjust to his receiver in zone. In man coverage he has good hips and good technique, his zone just needs work.
Even if it is not perfect, it is still very encouraging to see him help out with run support. And it shows because last season he had 58 combined tackles. Overall, Rugamba is a strong prospect at a somewhat small school in the MAC conference. He is surrounded by strong company going into the 2021 NFL Draft. Caleb Farley has already declared and so has Ambry Thomas out of Michigan. You have to expect that other big names will come out after the college football season ends. So for now I will not be specific on where I feel he will go until I know more of the guys declaring for the Draft. As of now I have him as a Day 2 prospect.
Best game: Buffalo
Worst game: Cincinnati
Best trait: Man coverage
Worst trait: Play recognition
Round Projection: TBD
Draft Grade: TBD
NFL Comp: TBD
Final Evaluation: Coming soon