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Countdown: Rutledge Goes East to Join Demon Deacons
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Texan Eric Rutledge's two major choices - which sport and which college - came several years apart, with his decision to sign with Wake Forest the easier of the two.

Eric Rutledge has committed to Wake Forest
© ZooTennis
"I tried all the sports, basketball, football, lacrosse everything," says the blue chip from Fort Worth, now at No. 20 in the Athletic DNA ranking list for the class of 2015. "I played tennis and baseball seriously up to age 14, and then had to choose. I couldn't keep up with both practices and school, academics. It was basically a coin flip, between tennis and baseball."

That decision made, Rutledge started his hunt for a possible college after the 2013 Kalamazoo tournament, with a family trip to Virginia and the Carolinas putting Wake Forest high on his list.

"I've always liked the East Coast - my dad went to school there, a lot of my family went to school there too and I've always been attracted to that part of the country," says Rutledge, who also seriously considered Texas and TCU. "On our trip, one of the schools happened to be Wake Forest and I met with head coach Tony Bresky. I just loved it once I was on campus. The facilities were amazing, Coach Bresky was awesome and with good academics and great tennis, it was everything I was looking for."

Rutledge, a senior at All Saints' Episcopal School, was never tempted to switch to online schooling.

"I've gone to private school since kindergarten and I wouldn't trade that for anything, all the friendships I've made," says Rutledge, who plans to major in business at Wake Forest. "I think going to regular school will help me when I go to Wake Forest, with scheduling and everything. I switched to All Saints' starting when I was a freshman. Since then, the schedule's better and I can travel more, but I usually just play tournaments on the weekends. I don't play too many during the week, because I miss too much school and get too far behind."

Rutledge's schedule does allow for time for private lessons, and his weekly sessions with TCU coaching legend Tut Bartzen augment his practices with former college players.

But it is his father Peter who has had the most influence on his love of the game.

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