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Offensive lineman Trevor Ruhland commits to Irish

Apr 23, 2014, 8:14 PM EDT

Northwest Herald / Shaw Media Northwest Herald / Shaw Media

Notre Dame closed out their offensive line recruiting on Wednesday, accepting the verbal commitment of Illinois offensive lineman Trevor Ruhland. The 6-foot-4, 270-pounder chose the Irish over offers from Cal, Duke, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern and Vanderbilt.

Ruhland is a consensus three-star prospect, and his offers are more reflective of a regional prospect than a national target. But the Irish coaching staff got multiple looks at Ruhland before offering, and it didn’t take long for Ruhland to commit to a school he’s long admired.

“It was a lot of things,” Ruhland told 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong. “How close it was to home. My parents and family can come watch me play. Also the tradition there. They’re always going to compete for championships. To be able to put that gold crown on and compete on Saturdays, nothing better than that.”

What Notre Dame looks to be getting from Ruhland is a brawler who projects to be an interior offensive lineman. After restocking the tackle position in the past few recruiting classes, the 2015 cycle features Ruhland and Tristen Hoge as inside men, while Jerry Tillery projects to be a tackle.

One quick look at Ruhland’s highlight film should alleviate any concerns over a modest star rating. He also is an Iowa legacy, where his father Matt was an All-Big Ten defensive lineman.

Ruhland started all 11 games for Cary-Grove High School. He was a first team All-State section by coaches, a first team All-Area selection by the Chicago Sun Times and second team All-State by the Chicago Tribune.

Ruhland is the seventh commitment in the 2015 class.




  1. padomer - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:19 PM

    Check this story here on sb nation. I accessed it on a google search where I literally typed in sb nation bag man into google, some wild stuff happenin here. Are we naive to assume this doesn’t happen at ND? I hope it doesn’t and I truly don’t think it does. But dang, makes our NC run even more impressive all things considered. Idk check it, interesting read. Curious what my fellow domes think bout it. Let it rip…

    • bernhtp - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:01 PM

      I read this article a week ago. It is interesting. The SEC has it down to a science. Maybe they’ll offer a major in being a bag man.

      It’s not naive to believe Notre Dame sells something different. ND can do this because few others have it to offer and relatively few are qualified to accept it.

    • ndoneill - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:55 PM

      I have feeling ND isn’t as 100% squeaky clean as we like to think, but by and large they play within the rules; certainly more so than what’s described in the SB article.

      That said, ND is selling something different, as bernhtp says. The education you get isn’t worthless, so there’s less pressure to “compensate” student athletes in roundabout ways. In ND’s case the degree is actually worth something. The same can’t be said for an exercise science degree from Big State U. It’s the schools that fail to uphold their end of the student athlete bargain–the provision of an actual education–that face the most pressure to pay athletes.

      I also think ND benefits from the current economic stagnation and the high unemployment among recent college grads. Recruits are likely weighting quality of education and quality of the school’s academic reputation more heavily in their decisions than they used to. I think that’s why the likes of ND and Stanford have been recruiting better.

      • onward2victory - Apr 25, 2014 at 1:08 AM

        Excellent points, especially the last paragraph about why recruits might be valuing education now more than they used to. I hadn’t thought of that, but I totally agree.

        Regarding the whole bag man thing, I really hope ND doesn’t do this, but I wouldn’t be shocked. I love Coach Kelly as a coach, but I don’t view him as a pillar of ethics and morals. But I view very few college coaches as highly ethical, Lou Holtz being one of the exceptions. It just seems like a sleazy business these days.

      • 4horsemenrideagain - Apr 25, 2014 at 4:05 PM

        oh gosh, i’d love to think recruits even know what stagnation is, or that there is a high unemployment problem and that there has been for some time, but I think back to my own knowledge of these things as an 18-yr. old and based on that I am not so sure…

        not for nothing, but every time a recruit talks about ND not being a 4 year decision, but a 40 year decision, I get a boost in my faith about recruits and their decision-making processes. the flip-side being every time some 5-star recruit with an ND offer cites “academics” as a priority, and than ends up opting for some middle-of-the-road academic institution that just happens to be an outlaw school, my faith goes in the opposite direction.

  2. padomer - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:32 PM

    I preface by saying I am pro Kelly. Included in this preface will also be that the rankings systems (rivals etc,) can be bogus. Kelly has been an excellent recruiter. Ehh maybe very good recruiter, sabans n Meyers are excellent, but Kelly is nonetheless very good. He has been able to bring in some great talents sparingly. Where I anticipated most impact would be the identifications of the “diamonds in the rough.” Doesn’t seem like many of those guys have panned which to me is disappointing. Now, there are still some guys that the jury is still out on, but I was hopin for 3 stars turned into day 1 draft picks. High hopes for Romeo, Ben counsel, rabasa, etc. and lets just say I’m still waiting. Hope it works out, but I’ve def expected at least one player to fly under the radar who

    • mediocrebob - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:01 PM

      Saban and Meyer wouldn’t have the same success recruiting at Notre Dame. It’s a whole different animal.

      • mtflsmitty - Apr 24, 2014 at 12:55 AM

        Completely agree. No doubt Saban and Meyer are strong, But BK is fishing in a much smaller pond and still landing great fish.

    • padomer - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:01 PM

      Oh n this dude is def a welcome addition. Str8 ferocious, best attribute for an interior lineman to have. I expect to years starting – we need tough brawler ballers ain’t afraid to get their hands dirty, fits the hiestead mold. Think we got a contributor here, best strength: tough. I’m wit it. Go irish

    • mediocrebob - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:06 PM

      I’d call Eiffert a “diamond in the rough”. Also Z. Martin. Neither highly rated, both developed under Bk. Also, you could say guys like K Russell and T Niklas as they were shifted to other positions and both fairly successful. They were both a little more coveted though.

      • gtizzo - Apr 24, 2014 at 4:00 PM

        Your “diamonds in the rough” seem to pop up more and more in college football. Saban benefits from them just as much as ND, Chance Warmack wasn’t all that highly recruited. Being a “good recruiter” is used when the media can’t come up with anything else. Lane Kiffin was given that title. Coaches have guys who can spot great talent regardless of star rating or 40 time. I would put Mark Dantonio at Michigan State as a guy who spots talent better that anyone in the Big Ten. Meyer makes a big splash, Dantonio finds the guys who want to work to get better.

    • martyhealy - Apr 24, 2014 at 10:21 AM

      Padomer: I recently (maybe a month ago) was looking at Rivals top 100 recruits for 2015. I was struck that Florida had 17, Calif, Texas and Georgia each had 13, totaling to 56 of the top 100 recruits. Virginia had 7. The entire Big Ten states including PA and NE only had 7.

      OK the South has the best talent! “NO DISPUTE” In the recent NFL draft 2013 (of the top 100 players picked, the kids original states). FL and TX had 10, CA had 9, GA had 7.

      I am saying this tongue in cheek Although I think their is a definite correlation but not prove able since I am comparing red apples to green apples.

      The South has the best talent, but many kids from other regions particularly the Midwest are underrated. The Midwest had one of the harshest winters in the past 50 years. If I was a premier
      recruiter this year and was under pressure from wife and kids, I myself would rather go to Florida, S Cal, S Texas, ETC. LOL

      I would take the under on an over under bet that FL TX CA GA will not prove to be good even though the kids might come out on diff years..

      This might sound stupid! But maybe not. You have to justify to your boss why you taking a trip to Florida / S Cal Etc. I bet kids from Minn and N Dakota do not even rate one star this year.

      Taking a top 3 star from Ill might prove to be a great pick up.

  3. padomer - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    Is a difference maker, of the all American caliber. Patience should prevail as these receivers give rise to optimism, guess I’m a lil bummed that it hasn’t happened yet. For example, I wish jarron jones n council can be expected to do big things not hoped to do big things ya kno? Idk, maybe it’s the dog days that got me tryna figure out talking points

  4. padomer - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:08 PM

    Eh, I understand that we can’t get half of the saban/Meyer recruits to even properly fill out an nd questionnaire, but we foolin ourselves if we put Kelly on the same level as them in recruiting. I think if either were here, Stanford remains marginal and we don’t lose nearly as many to them as we may have had. That said, Kelly is a great recruiter, I just can’t let my homerism blind me into thinking he’s on their level. That said, we do play by a different set of rules (or at least o e would think).

    P.s. we had an amazing recruiting class post nc run, was hopin we coulda parlayed its coat tails for one more year after that

  5. padomer - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:10 PM

    Yea eifert I can give you that. But it seems that defensively we haven’t been able to get lucky beyond the blue chippers we bring in, that is, guys that don’t only start but are difference makers

  6. yaketyyacc - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:45 AM

    it is one thing to “fish in a smaller pond and to land big fish” and another to be able to cook them into a National Championship dish. there are a lot of good fishermen, but so few good cooks. so far, Notre Dame has a great fisherman. Now, he has to develop into that rare combination of fisherman and chef. yes, hard to do but Saban and Meyer have made it. Com’on Kelly, get the pots and pans out.

  7. dudeacow - Apr 24, 2014 at 10:43 AM

    Sometimes you just have to laugh at recruiting rankings. Trevor is the epitome of a mauler. Every single play he takes his guy 20 yards away from the ball and then knocks him over. I think I saw a couple guys throw punches because they were so mad. And YouTube doesn’t work for me, so I’m referring to his SOPHOMORE highlights on Hudl. I absolutely love this staff’s ability to identify stalwart under-the-radar players. IMO, third best player committed to ND so far this class. Great pickup!

    But most importantly, go look at Ruhland’s picture on 247Sports. Garrick Sherman has nothing on this dude’s facial hair.

  8. irishinmich - Apr 24, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    Liking what I see on the video. Not sure what competition he was up against. I have never seen so many pancake blocks in a recruit video before. This kid certainly “goes to the whistle” too. Not sure who assigns the all unimportant star rating, but not sure this kid could look more impressive as a junior in high school. Welcome aboard young man! Best of luck!
    P.S. Hi Mrs. Arnold!! (Does she still read all the comments, Keith? Ha)

  9. padomer - Apr 24, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    I think my point was too jumbled to understand. Meyer and Saban can flat out recruit, in part: region, lack of academic restraint, track record etc. But let me move beyond them two…Pete Carroll. Again, he had the same luxuries. However, how is it that his starting walk-on is clay matthews and ours in Joe schmidt (no disrespect, one of my favorite players and the consumate blue-collar player). With all the hurdles BK has, he is doing as good as he possibly can recruiting. If he coached for say Georgia, I believe he would bring in similar hauls as he is here. My point…..again starting to become jumbled, is that we haven’t quite lucked out on our “diamonds in the rough” or “project players.” Tyrann Mathiew no doubt could not have come here but he was a three star recruit. I guess all I am saying is that I hope we can lucky with a few unheralded players coming out of high school which many other programs have had the luxury of. To exemplify, look at all the perrenial top team not named alabama and florida st, the Wisconsins of the world loaded with three stars n pop out guys like Joe Smith and JJ watt. Just wish we could have that happen to us more often, to throw into the bonafide talent we already have.

    • onward2victory - Apr 24, 2014 at 1:49 PM

      You may want to keep an eye on Corey Robinson, a 2 star recruit when ND offered him!

    • 1historian - Apr 24, 2014 at 2:03 PM

      I get your point and IMO – we’re getting there.

    • whodabigdog - Apr 24, 2014 at 7:07 PM

      JJ Watt was recruited by Kelly at CMU and played te. He didnt play d till he transferred to U Wiss.

  10. padomer - Apr 24, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    That said, we have had a few outliers to be sure. I thought Eifert was just some sort of charity offer being his high school proximity and that he can walk and chew gum. Thank god I was wrong. Moreover, most of the guys that I am seeking still have time to excel (love the unheralded LBs from this year, gunna get a Jhonny Williams jersey, kid an animal).

  11. padomer - Apr 24, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    @ Marty, haha Ive said a lot of things so im unsure to what youre responding to. I dont quite follow. I do agree that these rankings can be bogus, but id say for the top 30 guys theyre usually in the ball-park. Those guys usually are the one that are straight up gifted. What separates the rest is desire, technique, luck, etc. Of that would make for way too long and probably impossible to figure out. Why is Jared Allen great out of Idaho while pick any mcdonalds all-american USC d-lineman out of the Pete Carroll years stink? There are easy answers but it is pretty darn complex. I’m not sayin this dude is a bad pick-up, I know nothing about him and can’t pretend to know from a 5 min youtube clip whether him punch technique and hip fluidity is up to par. I hope it is. I’m just saying that I wish we had more of these less heralded guys not just start but be difference makers. I assumed that player identification and scouting was Kelly’s strenght being what he was able to accomplish at Cincy, and I haven’t quite seen many of those guys boom. That said, he is doing an incredible job working with what he’s got and building for the future. In Kelly i trust.

    P.S. in the grand scheme, its very early in his tenure, so maybe i outta cool it and let things play out. Corey Robinson 3 star playin like Mike Evans. Fuller. Day. Etc.

    • martyhealy - Apr 24, 2014 at 7:43 PM

      @padomer! You hit it on the head that the ratings can be bogus! I am sure each service wants their ratings to be perfect as that is their business. But sometimes political and this year in particular marital politics, It has been downright brutal cold in the Midwest and every recruiting analyst are bumping into each other on the gulf coast beaches and golf courses. They justify their junkets to their bosses by stating they found hidden gems down South.

      OK I am trying to be funny, but their may be truth in my statement as in no way are 56% of the top 100 picks coming out in 4 years (ok could be early 3 year, 4 year or red shirt 5 year guys ) coming from those four states. Closer to reality will be 36% as in the 2013 draft.

      I agree to trust in Kelly! I also agree that it is impossible to rate many kids after those top tier guys. It is a turkey shoot.

      It is strange that Florida in particular has 17 of the top 100 rated Rival recruits, with a winter as harsh as it has been in the Midwest. If I was a recruiter I would park my butt on the sands of the Gulf Coast this winter and evaluate the kids from Florida only.

      To hell with due diligence!!! Therefore any Midwest kid is rated a half star lower.

      I am saying this with a chuckle! But their may be some truth to it. Those four Southern states have the best kids annually in the nation but not to the extend that Rivals have them garnishing close to 60% of the best talent in the nation. The scouts that were suppose to be covering the Midwest kids this winter are all bumping into each other on the Gulf Coast beaches or in Calif.

      I have no proof!!!

  12. padomer - Apr 24, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    yall know by any chance how many schollies we have to take on?

  13. fnc111 - Apr 24, 2014 at 2:25 PM

    I disagree. I would say Martin was highly rated.

    • bernhtp - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:07 PM

      ZM was highly rated (low 4-star) but far from elite. No national ranking and 22 at OT. He obviously far outperformed his recruit ranking.

  14. shaunodame - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    This is one position group where I hope we continue to hold strong to our recruiting profile. I love all of these mammoth 6’4″++ guys we bring in every year. Also, you can NEVER have too many talented linemen, both on O and D, on your team.

    Also, anyone questioning his Star Rating and Coach Kelly/Hiestand ability to recruit, need not look any further than our very own starting Center Nick Martin to dispel any concerns. We have to believe in out coaches to bring in the best guys they can, regardless of any perceived recruiting ranking.

  15. fnc111 - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:38 PM


    Don’t change the word please. Mediocre said ZM was not highly rated. You just interjected and added elite. I never said elite. Elite recruits = 5 stars. Highly rated = 4 stars in my book. That’s what he was.

    How in the heck can someone say arguably the best player in his state and a four star on rivals is not highly rated? You’re lying.

    I was at the 2010 Purdue game. It was Martin’s first start as a RS freshmen. He held his own against future NFLer Ryan Kerrigan. Anyone that follows ND religiously knew ZM was going to be a stud at LT from day one.

    • mediocrebob - Apr 24, 2014 at 7:03 PM

      I don’t believe in the star system one bit. If you look at his offers, Michigan an ND only big time offers. All offers from Midwest. Not a national recruit, unless I’m misinformed by Scout.

    • whodabigdog - Apr 24, 2014 at 7:10 PM

      Fnc- Was it cloudy and crappy that day?

      • onward2victory - Apr 25, 2014 at 1:15 AM


    • jommy995 - Apr 25, 2014 at 1:29 AM

      Chill, man. Nobody’s trying to steal your Cheetos.

  16. mediocrebob - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:56 PM

    Anyone know what type of competition he plays against?

    • mediocrebob - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:01 PM

      No reply? Just thumbs down? Thanks for the insight fellas…

    • knuterocknesghost - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:41 PM

      For what its worth:

      Cary Grove reached the Illinois Class 6A state championship game during Ruhland’s sophomore year. Trevor played OT and started all 14 games for his team that went 13-1 with its only loss coming in the IL 6A state championship game.

      This past season was sort of a bust for CG.The CG football team won the 2009 Illinois state title against Providence Catholic High School finished second in 2004 and 2012.

      • mediocrebob - Apr 25, 2014 at 9:18 AM

        Thanks Knute

  17. knuterocknesghost - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:22 PM

    Trevor hasn’t done the “camp thing” very much and so has missed out on star rating in significant part because of his apparently being content to let his film speak for itself along with the accolades thrown his direction by the local press in Illinois. But if any one can judge talent for the O-line, I’ll put my money on Harry Hiestand for whom, I would think it safe to assume, doesn’t need to be told by Scout, 247Sports, or Rivals whether Trevor can play football.

    That’s not to say that star ratings are completely inconsequential. But in many cases there are explanations for why some kids are given the short shrift by the rating websites.

    Anyone notice this kid’s tenacity in terms of how quickly he gets up off the turf after pancaking an opponent and chasing the play down field?

  18. padomer - Apr 25, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    ahhh great point, them nike, adidas, puma, under armour, kmart, walmart, mcdonalds, army, navy, air force scouting combines they have for high schoolers go a longggg way in recruiting rankings.

    FNC, on Zmartin making his mark against purdue, I got the same feeling when Steve Elmer got his first run. (and Trevor Robinson too). I said that last part hinting at disappointment but he had a pretty decent run for us. but yea I dig what youre sayin.

  19. padomer - Apr 25, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    ya know what might explain it a little further is that these kids are basically investments, they are investments. Anddd a 170lb Darqueze Dennard (spell check) doesn’t quite look as good with his shirt off as say rashad kinlaw. Moreover he may have ran a 4.6 forty at the time when he was 17. Therefore he’s glossed over, but somehow blossoms into 6’1 205 the summer between fresh and sophmore year. Luke Keuchly was probably a 215lb running back for a crappy division in a small area in his high school and therefore tough to see as a 245-250lb ballhawk linebacker. I think the rankings have a lot to do with how far above the curve these highschool seniors are at the time they are recruited.

    Leonard Fournette (no.1 player from last year) is like 6’1 220 and blazing fast. That’s like NFL size. And this isn’t to say that he isnt going to be good, but I gurantee by the time of the draft there’s going to be some complete unknown from like Western Carolina that may have an equal or greater impact on the NFL as him. Haha unless fournette is for real and is the next earl campbell or something, but ya get what i mean.

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