CHICAGO – Saint Xavier University head football coach Mike Feminis strengthened his secondary for the foreseeable future with the recent addition of a pair of talented recruits, one junior college transfer and a local prep standout. Doug Ruggles (6-0, 200 lbs.), a two-year starter as a defensive back at Saddleback Junior College in Mission Viejo, Calif., and Christopher Thompson (5-9, 180 lbs.), a defensive back from V.O.I.S.E. Academy in Chicago, have both signed letters of intent to continue their athletic and academic careers as members of the SXU football team. Feminis is confident that both of these players have the physical abilities and tools to provide an impact right away in the Cougars' secondary.
Ruggles led the Gauchos in 2013 with 90 tackles and also tied for the team lead with 6.5 tackles-for-loss en route to being named a unanimous selection to the first team of the Southern California Football Association (SCFA) National Division All-Southern Conference Team. He also led Saddleback with eight pass break-ups and finished second on the squad with five interceptions. In his two seasons with the Gauchos, Ruggles totaled 146 tackles, 13.5 tackles-for-loss, six interceptions and 14 pass break-ups. His 46 unassisted tackles last season were just four shy of the school's single-season record. Ruggles was also named to the 2013 SCFA Scholar-Athlete Team.
"Ruggles was a two-year starter and the best defensive player at one of the top junior college programs in California last year," said Feminis. "He is a big-time player and will make an immediate impact for us in the secondary. An assist has to go out to Ken Styler (athletic director at nearby Richards High School and SXU Athletics Hall of Fame member), who brought Doug to our attention. It turns out his niece is from Mother McAuley and friends with Doug at Saddleback and she told him about SXU. It's a crazy, but true story, and we are just happy to have in the program."
Thompson was a four-year starter at V.O.I.S.E. Academy, a school within the Austin Community High School campus in Chicago. He was named the 2013 Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the defensive backs at the Five-Star Central Showcase hosted by the National Underclassmen Combine (NUC) in Springfield, Ill., last summer.
"Chris is physically ready to play college football," said Feminis. "He is extremely strong for his size and we feel is athletic enough to play anywhere in the secondary and possibly even our Sam linebacker position in nickel situations. To get a young man of his ability this late in the recruiting process is huge and, luckily for us, he wanted to stay close to home.