Reviewing the Redshirts is an off-season series meant to resurrect discussion around the current Irish freshmen who did not play in 2015.
There were 11 players this past year who retained a year of eligibility and today we look at a young lineman from northwest of Chicago.
OL, Trevor Ruhland
Hometown: Cary, Illinois
Height: 6-3 1/2
247 Sports COMPOSITE RANKING:
3-star, No. 33 OG, No. 8 IL, No. 503 USA, 0.869 Score
Need at Position: Low
Expected Spot on 2016 Depth Chart: 3rd String
As we'll get to below, Ruhland was not very highly rated coming out of high school but Harry Heistand and the Notre Dame staff recruited him quite early in the 2015 cycle. If you're not a major recruit you at least have to like the fact that the Irish coaches saw something worthy long before playing your senior season. Here were my comments on Ruhland from last February:
I'm sure Ruhland will lose some points for being listed at 270 pounds. [Note: Eric wrote this comment before the signing day release came out, which lists Ruhland at 285 and justifies his next thought here.] That lack of size doesn't bother me too much, though. He'll have the opportunity to add good weight and grow into his body after a couple years with Paul Longo. I like his explosion off the ball and finishing ability with blocks. His strength seems decent for his size but he's often pancaking linebackers at the second level instead of high school linemen in front of him. Ruhland is a good guard prospect, the type of player you need every once in a while to add some blue collar attitude to the line.
Make no mistake, Ruhland was lightly recruited by the rest of the nation. He held 9 offers from Power 5 teams and they were mostly lower conference programs. He was offered by Notre Dame in early April of 2014 and committed before the month came to an end. Since then, Ruhland has been largely out of spotlight.
There have been 4 offensive linemen signed by Notre Dame since 2010 with Composite scores under .870 and Ruhland is one of them. Of the 23 signed he's the 20th ranked and is the lowest rated over the last several cycles for the Irish. From a strictly recruiting numbers viewpoint this will be an uphill battle for Ruhland.
When we handed out our grades last year everyone on staff liked Ruhland a lot more than most. His 83.8 average from us is still pretty low for ND offensive lineman standards but he has all the characteristics of an interior guard who could overachieve in college. Ruhland did suffer injuries to his PCL and meniscus in January of 2015 while playing basketball for his high school. Luckily, it wasn't much of a setback and he was in full health when reporting to Notre Dame last summer.
When we last checked in Ruhland was running with the third team at left tackle during fall camp. Suffice to say, he's not likely to stay there unless he takes the baton from Mark Harrell as the under-sized recruit destined for the interior but ends up somehow becoming a backup at tackle.
Numbers haven't been a problem on the offensive line but depth at tackle hasn't always been great, hence both Harrell and Ruhland playing the position last year. With blue-chip tackles Tommy Kraemer and Liam Eichenberg showing up this summer the ratio between tackles and guards will be a lot more balanced for 2016. This should allow Ruhland the chance to move inside where he'll be more comfortable.
Lastly, don't rule out Ruhland moving to center if there's another starting positioning opening up at guard and either Mustipher or Hoge grab that spot. Ruhland was excellent in high school at moving up to the second level as an athletic blocker and Notre Dame could use that skill at the center position.