As a piece of depth at guard, Trevor Ruhland takes his redshirt off and steps into one of the most competitive position groups in America. With talent young and old battling for a job on the interior offensive line, Ruhland’s eligibility clock begins as he tries his best to get into the two-deep behind Quenton Nelson and a crowd at right guard.
An early target, offer and commitment to Harry Hiestand, there’s a lot to like about Ruhland. He competed for a state championship as two-way player and was praised as a whistle-to-whistle mauler who’ll add some toughness in the trenches.
We’ll see how quickly he can fit upstream to get onto the field.
6’3.5″, 300 lbs.
Sophomore, No. 57, OL
More of a regional recruit than a national target, Ruhland shut down his recruitment early, committing to Notre Dame well in advance of his senior season while also staying off the camp circuit. He was a first-team All-State and All-Area player, playing on both the offensive and defensive line a team that came within a field goal of a state title.
Freshman Season (2015): Did not see action, preserving a year of eligibility.
WHAT WE SAID LAST YEAR
Do I win something?
There are redshirt candidates and then there are redshirt guarantees. It sure feels like Ruhland is all but guaranteed to spend this season learning and in the weight room, likely one of two seasons where most of the reps he takes are on the practice field.
But as we look forward, Ruhland will be competing with a fairly large group of lineman to replace Steve Elmer after 2016 (and potentially Quenton Nelson if he shifts outside to tackle), and could also be a candidate to try snapping, potentially throwing his name into the hat of a fairly wide-open center battle once Nick Martin heads to the NFL.
At this point, it’s too early to know if Ruhland is a guy who will slot in behind some really impressive talent up front or if he’ll ascend to the top of the depth chart. With just a few spring practices and the first days of fall camp, Ruhland is still finding out what type of player he can become.
As we look for clues, it’s worth pointing out that both developmental targets and five-star studs are succeeding on Harry Hiestand’s offensive line. For every lock like Quenton Nelson, there’s a Mike McGlinchey. While it’s taken Hunter Bivin four years to get to the starting lineup, a late offer like Nick Martin was a two-time captain.
Patience is the best plan for Ruhland. We’ll stick to that as our evaluation for now.
With John Montelus back on the offensive line and shifting outside to right tackle in fall camp, Ruhland will be among the depth battling to get into the two-deep at guard. What looks like a three-man race at right guard likely means Colin McGovern could slide over to the left side behind Nelson, keeping Ruhland as a third-stringer, nothing to be upset about at this point.
There are opportunities coming—especially with Nelson capable of heading to the NFL after this season and other pieces coming and going. So I’m capping my expectations for Ruhland’s 2016 at a few mop-up time snaps, and maybe securing some special teams work.
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