Ruhland

Irish A-to-Z: Trevor Ruhland

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An early offer and commitment, offensive lineman Trevor Ruhland begins his Notre Dame career on a developmental track that requires patience. A two-way high school player, Ruhland will focus on life on the interior of the Irish offensive line, learning from an established depth chart that’s quickly become a war chest of talent.

Far from the highest-ranked offensive lineman, Ruhland projects as a scrappy mauler on the interior. And while his best days may be a season or two away, he’s another piece of the puzzle for Harry Hiestand to make fit.

 

TREVOR RUHLAND
6’4″, 285 lbs.
Freshman, No. 57, OL

 

RECRUITING PROFILE

More of a regional recruit than a national target, Ruhland likely had limited offers due to the fact that he committed to Notre Dame well in advance of his senior season and stayed off the camp circuit.

A first-team All-State and All-Area player, Ruhland also chipped in on the defensive line of a program that finished runner-up for the 7A state title in Illinois.

 

FUTURE POTENTIAL

Get back to me this spring.

In Ruhland, it’s tough to know what you have until you see him in pads and stack him up against the rest of the offensive line. His high school tape showcases a guy who isn’t afraid to battle in the trenches, but then again, Notre Dame’s entire depth chart does the same.

That said, if you’re looking for something that could set Ruhland apart, take a gander at his Signing Day video, where Tom Lemming compared him to Chris Watt and Harry Hiestand talked about his physicality and demeanor during Notre Dame’s one-day lineman camp. Sounds like a good start.

 

CRYSTAL BALL

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.

 

THE 2015 IRISH A-to-Z
Josh Adams, RB
Josh Barajas, OLB
Nicky Baratti, S
Alex Bars, OL
Asmar Bilal, OLB
Hunter Bivin, OL
Grant Blankenship, DE
Jonathan Bonner, DE
Miles Boykin, WR
Justin Brent, WR
Greg Bryant, RB
Devin Butler, CB
Jimmy Byrne, OL
Daniel Cage, DL
Amir Carlisle, RB
Nick Coleman, DB
Te’von Coney, LB
Shaun Crawford, DB
Scott Daly, LS
Sheldon Day, DL
Michael Deeb, LB
Micah Dew-Treadway, DL
Steve Elmer, RG
Matthias Farley, DB
Nicco Fertitta, DB
Tarean Folston, RB
Will Fuller, WR
Jarrett Grace, LB
Jalen Guyton, WR
Mark Harrell, OL
Jay Hayes, DL
Mike Heuerman, TE
Kolin Hill, DE
Tristen Hoge, C
Corey Holmes, WR
Chase Hounshell, TE
Torii Hunter, Jr. WR
Alizé Jones, TE
Jarron Jones, DL
DeShone Kizer, QB
Tyler Luatua, TE
Cole Luke, CB
Nick Martin, C
Greer Martini, LB
Jacob Matuska, DL
Mike McGlinchey, OT
Colin McGovern, OL
Peter Mokwuah, DL
John Montelus, OL
Nyles Morgan, LB
Sam Mustipher, OL
Quenton Nelson, OL
Tyler Newsome, P
Romeo Okwara, DE
James Onwualu, LB
C.J. Prosise, WR/RB
Doug Randolph, LB/DE
Max Redfield, S
Corey Robinson, WR

 

 

Medical redshirts announced for Michael Deeb, Mike Heuerman

Heuerman
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Two veterans on the Notre Dame football team will be permanently hanging up their cleats. Linebacker Michael Deeb and tight end Mike Heuerman have both been medically disqualified, the university announced today. Both will remain at Notre Dame, staying on scholarship while working towards their respective degrees.

The roster move officially clears up two scholarships on a crowded 85-man roster that is quickly coming into context. Neither Deeb nor Heuerman were expected to play much of a role on the team in 2015, even before injuries were considered.

The loss of Deeb ends the linebacker’s career after two mostly anonymous seasons. After not seeing any action as a freshman, Deeb saw the field against USC and LSU, though only briefly. Deeb was cross-training with defensive ends during spring practice, hoping to make a transition to a pass rushing position with the linebacking depth chart crowded in front of him.

Heuerman did not see the field in either of his two seasons on the roster. He redshirted as a true freshman and got off to a slow start in 2014 after a summer hernia surgery. He was largely buried on the depth chart this spring, behind even transitioning defensive lineman Chase Hounshell.

Due to privacy laws, Notre Dame did not release any additional medical information on either player.

 

Greg Bryant academically ineligible for ’15 season

North Carolina v Notre Dame
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Notre Dame won’t have running back Greg Bryant this season. Already looking at a four-game suspension for violating team rules, news broke today via Irish Illustrated that the junior running back was declared academically ineligible for the fall semester, ending his season before it even began.

It’s another bump in the road for Bryant, a former five-star recruit who has yet to fulfill that promise in two-plus seasons in South Bend. Per Pete Sampson of Irish Illustrated, Bryant won’t report to campus for training camp, but will instead enroll in classes with the rest of the student body in late August.

Notre Dame confirmed the news earlier today, with Brian Kelly releasing a statement through SID Michael Bertsch.

“There are certain expectations within our program that must be met on a daily basis,” Kelly said. “Quite simply, Greg did not meet those expectations.”

Bryant remains on scholarship and will work out with the team once he returns to campus. But he will not be on the Irish roster. Per Sampson, Bryant’s eligibility came down to a summer course—he needed a B+ he received a B-.

The ineligibility leaves Bryant’s place in the program on unstable footing. It also likely cements C.J. Prosise’s permanent move to running back, while also forcing either freshman Josh Adams or Dexter Williams into the rotation. Bryant was already running with the third-team this spring, but his departure certainly hurts a depth chart that’s one of the thinnest on the roster.

 

 

 

Irish A-to-Z: Isaac Rochell

Michigan v Notre Dame
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When last summer’s never-ending academic investigation froze Ishaq Williams’ football career, the next man on the defensive end depth chart was Isaac Rochell. After a mostly anonymous freshman season, counting on Rochell to be a starter looked like a stretch that exacerbated the Irish’s roster inefficiencies at defensive end.

But instead, Rochell turned in the best season of any player on the Irish defensive line. The Georgia native stayed healthy, was productive behind the line of scrimmage and proved himself to be up to any task that was thrown at him, adding another promising piece to a front four that looks to have added another frontline starter to a pair of defensive tackles.

After an impressive sophomore season, let’s take a look at what Rochell has planned for an encore.

 

ISAAC ROCHELL
6’3.5″, 287 lbs.
Junior, No. 90, DE

 

RECRUITING PROFILE

He wasn’t viewed through the same lens as Stephon Tuitt, but Rochell left the state of Georgia as a first-team All-State player, turning down offers from Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and several others to head to South Bend. Not too shabby.

A Top 150 prospect, Rochell looked a little bit like a tweener between a defensive tackle and end, but that didn’t stop Brian Kelly from keying in on him during his Signing Day press conference, the first time he talked about his impressive upside.

 

PLAYING CAREER

Freshman Season (2013): Played in all 13 games, making a total of 10 tackles. Rochell also forced a fumble. He made four tackles against Air Force.

Sophomore Season (2014): Started in all 13 games for the Irish, one of just three defensive players to do so. He made 39 tackles, tying for second on the team with 7.5 TFLs, including 2.5 sacks. He also had 10 quarterback hurries and blocked a field goal.

 

WHAT WE SAID LAST YEAR

Maybe we should’ve taken Brian Kelly’s preseason comments calling Rochell “a beast” more seriously. I underestimated his ability to hold up at defensive end.

I tend to throw last season’s results out when thinking about Rochell. You can’t blame a young player for struggling to make an impact, especially as a 3-4 defensive end. But that’s not the case this season, as Rochell now goes from part of the future to piece of the present.

That’s scary, but only because we really don’t know much about Rochell. He was productive against Air Force, though Notre Dame’s schedule is going to need more than just dominance competence against Service Academies. Ultimately, Rochell’s move into the starting lineup will scare you if you expected big things from Williams, and will be a jump-start to the future if you thought Notre Dame would get another season of mediocrity out of the former five-star recruit.

Rochell looks plenty sturdy, and at almost 290-pounds, he’s a defensive tackle in any other era of Notre Dame football. He might still be that on passing downs, sliding inside as the Irish bring in more speed off the edge. But for the Irish defense to hold up, Rochell is going to need to be able to do that against the run, almost a leap of faith at this point.

 

FUTURE POTENTIAL

Overlook Rochell if you want. But I can guarantee you opposing offensive coordinators won’t do it. That’s because the rising junior looks poised to be one of the breakout stars of the Irish, a 290-plus pound defensive end who can wreak havoc as an interior pass rusher while also showing enough speed off the edge to do well as a strong-side end, as well.

Rochell went viral with his steamrolling of Stanford All-American Andrus Peat. And his 10 quarterback hurries are a sign that his pass rush skills are almost where the Irish need them to be, a crucial development when you look at where the Irish defense needs to be this season.

We spend a lot of time talking about Sheldon Day and Jarron Jones, wondering about their NFL future. I expect this season to end with Rochell fitting into a similar discussion, an impressive trajectory for a third-year player.

 

CRYSTAL BALL

I see Rochell breaking through and going for double-digit TFLs in 2015. Part of that is the fact that he’s still at a position where he’s clearly better than any other option, and the other part is the versatility that exists in Rochell’s game—the capability of being a three-down player.

We still don’t know the fate of Ishaq Williams, going through an NCAA petition process that’ll decide if he’s able to play football in 2015 or not. But even if Williams comes back, it might only be to spell Rochell, who deserves to stay on the field as long as he can.

Working with defensive line coach Keith Gilmore, the new Irish assistant will know very quickly that he has a special player. And if Rochell is able to ramp up his productivity as a pass rusher, he’s got the chance to break loose just like Stephon Tuitt did in his sophomore season.

 

THE 2015 IRISH A-to-Z
Josh Adams, RB
Josh Barajas, OLB
Nicky Baratti, S
Alex Bars, OL
Asmar Bilal, OLB
Hunter Bivin, OL
Grant Blankenship, DE
Jonathan Bonner, DE
Miles Boykin, WR
Justin Brent, WR
Greg Bryant, RB
Devin Butler, CB
Jimmy Byrne, OL
Daniel Cage, DL
Amir Carlisle, RB
Nick Coleman, DB
Te’von Coney, LB
Shaun Crawford, DB
Scott Daly, LS
Sheldon Day, DL
Michael Deeb, LB
Micah Dew-Treadway, DL
Steve Elmer, RG
Matthias Farley, DB
Nicco Fertitta, DB
Tarean Folston, RB
Will Fuller, WR
Jarrett Grace, LB
Jalen Guyton, WR
Mark Harrell, OL
Jay Hayes, DL
Mike Heuerman, TE
Kolin Hill, DE
Tristen Hoge, C
Corey Holmes, WR
Chase Hounshell, TE
Torii Hunter, Jr. WR
Alizé Jones, TE
Jarron Jones, DL
DeShone Kizer, QB
Tyler Luatua, TE
Cole Luke, CB
Nick Martin, C
Greer Martini, LB
Jacob Matuska, DL
Mike McGlinchey, OT
Colin McGovern, OL
Peter Mokwuah, DL
John Montelus, OL
Nyles Morgan, LB
Sam Mustipher, OL
Quenton Nelson, OL
Tyler Newsome, P
Romeo Okwara, DE
James Onwualu, LB
C.J. Prosise, WR/RB
Doug Randolph, LB/DE
Max Redfield, S
Corey Robinson, WR

 

 

Irish A-to-Z: Corey Robinson

Notre Dame v Florida State
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Perhaps the most impressive student-athlete on Notre Dame’s roster, Corey Robinson‘s sophomore campaign saw him earn first-team Academic All-American honors, a rare achievement for an underclassman. Now the goal is something perhaps more superficial—sync up his work on the field with his achievements off of it.

Robinson showed moments of greatness, playing a dominant game in Tallahassee that could’ve been greater had it not been ruined by a questionable yellow flag. And even though a broken thumb didn’t slow him down early in the season, Robinson’s production dwindled the second half of the year, with consistency still a question mark for the rising junior.

As an upperclassman, that needs to change. And as Will Fuller begins 2015 as a marked man, it’s up to Robinson and teammate Chris Brown to prove that opponents need to respect both sides of the field.

 

COREY ROBINSON
6’4.5″, 215 lbs.
Junior, No. 88, WR

 

RECRUITING PROFILE

Notre Dame was the first to offer Robinson, a raw, gangly receiver from a small school in San Antonio. But by the time the recruiting cycle was over, Robinson had ascended to a four-star recruit with a handful of impressive offers to his name.

 

PLAYING CAREER

Freshman Season (2013): Played in all 13 games for the Irish, starting three. Caught nine passes for 157 yards and a touchdown, a 35-yard score against Air Force.

Sophomore Season (2014): Played in all 13 games, starting two. Caught 40 passes for 539 yards and five touchdowns, finishing second on the team in catches and touchdowns. First-team Academic All-American. Rockne Student-Athlete.

 

WHAT WE SAID LAST YEAR

Feeling pretty good about getting both the off-field and on-field success right.

If there’s a prototype for the perfect football player for Notre Dame, Robinson seems pretty close. He’s a top-flight student, a PLS major (Program of Liberal Studies), one of the most demanding and intellectually stimulating majors the university has to offer. That matches up with the Renaissance Man reputation that’s already been hoisted on Robinson, a talented musician who seems to have a knack for just about everything. On the field, he’s got unique physical traits and comes from a family where it’s clear that the gene pool is pretty good, too.

I already expected a huge spike in Robinson’s production, a combination of the sophomore improving, the offense expanding, and a variety of weapons giving Robinson some juicy 1-on-1 matchups. And if DaVaris Daniels is suspended for a lengthy period, Robinson will be hoisted into the starting lineup, forced to play a bigger role on the outside with Chris Brown and Fuller.

The sky seems to be the limit for Robinson. There are still questions that need to be answered, mostly with how he beats tight, physical coverage. But if the Irish can utilize him properly, then Robinson should be a very, very productive player this season.

 

FUTURE POTENTIAL

If Robinson is going to be more than a productive college receiver, this is the season where you should see him take off. Last year there were some really solid moments (clutch 4th down conversions, the touchdowns against Florida State), but a late-season lull and some uncharacteristic drops (one that turned into a pick-six for Everett Golson) spoiled the performance and showed some limitations in Robinson’s ability to control his body, a necessity for the lanky receiver.

At this point, I’m not sure it’s realistic to think that Robinson is going to be quick enough off the line of scrimmage to be a dominant player. But situationally he can be a handful, and as a No. 2 (or No. 3 if Chris Brown stays in the starting lineup), Robinson has the potential to be a nightmare.

 

CRYSTAL BALL

Remember when we talked about the matchup problem Robinson could be in the red zone with his basketball height and leaping ability? Maybe Mike Sanford will be the guy who arrives and finally says, “Hey, let’s throw this kid some fades in the end zone.”

That’s probably oversimplifying how Robinson can run up his touchdown total, but the fact that the Irish will be really tough running the football—especially with a quarterback who is a threat to keep the football near the goal line—means he’ll draw plenty of one-on-one coverage. (Run the ball, throw a fade to Robinson or a quick screen to Fuller? That’s quite a menu for any quarterback.)

We learned the term “catch radius” when watching Robinson turn UND practice reports into Spiderman spottings. So after battling through a hand injury that had to make squeezing the football harder, it’ll be important to see Robinson return to his velcro ways.

But beyond that, finding the footballs to make sure Robinson has the ability to build on 40 catches and push towards 50 or 60, that’s the question. Because if the junior is going to emerge as a big-play threat, he’ll need to demand the football over C.J. Prosise, Brown, Amir Carlisle and already guaranteed touches for Fuller in a crowd of capable playmakers.

Robinson has an NBA body and hands that you can’t teach. If he’s able to balance that with a play-to-play consistency, he’s another wonderful option.

 

THE 2015 IRISH A-to-Z
Josh Adams, RB
Josh Barajas, OLB
Nicky Baratti, S
Alex Bars, OL
Asmar Bilal, OLB
Hunter Bivin, OL
Grant Blankenship, DE
Jonathan Bonner, DE
Miles Boykin, WR
Justin Brent, WR
Greg Bryant, RB
Devin Butler, CB
Jimmy Byrne, OL
Daniel Cage, DL
Amir Carlisle, RB
Nick Coleman, DB
Te’von Coney, LB
Shaun Crawford, DB
Scott Daly, LS
Sheldon Day, DL
Michael Deeb, LB
Micah Dew-Treadway, DL
Steve Elmer, RG
Matthias Farley, DB
Nicco Fertitta, DB
Tarean Folston, RB
Will Fuller, WR
Jarrett Grace, LB
Jalen Guyton, WR
Mark Harrell, OL
Jay Hayes, DL
Mike Heuerman, TE
Kolin Hill, DE
Tristen Hoge, C
Corey Holmes, WR
Chase Hounshell, TE
Torii Hunter, Jr. WR
Alizé Jones, TE
Jarron Jones, DL
DeShone Kizer, QB
Tyler Luatua, TE
Cole Luke, CB
Nick Martin, C
Greer Martini, LB
Jacob Matuska, DL
Mike McGlinchey, OT
Colin McGovern, OL
Peter Mokwuah, DL
John Montelus, OL
Nyles Morgan, LB
Sam Mustipher, OL
Quenton Nelson, OL
Tyler Newsome, P
Romeo Okwara, DE
James Onwualu, LB
C.J. Prosise, WR/RB
Doug Randolph, LB/DE
Max Redfield, S