In the 2017 class the Indiana staff was successful in flipping a quarterback that was committed to another school, and for 2018 they are looking to do the same thing. Three-star recruit Jace Ruder from Norton (KS) Norton H.S. is currently committed to Tulsa, but after picking up an offer from the Hoosiers the 6-foot-3, 205-pound signal-caller is interested in learning more about IU.
Indiana’s initial contact with Ruder took place last month when their new quarterback coach reached out to him to let him know he had a scholarship offer.
“It was probably about two weeks ago when Coach (Nick) Sheridan contacted me,” Ruder said about the first time he heard from IU. “He talked to Coach (Lucas) Melvin, my head coach, and then he gave me a call and offered me a scholarship to play for them. Since then I have been talking to Coach Sheridan, as well as Coach (Tom) Allen, the head coach. I have also talked to a lot of the staff whenever they are together. I will give them a call and they will all talk to me.”
The Indiana coaching staff believes Ruder would be a great fit for the Hoosiers both on and off the field.
“They said that they are really impressed with my film and the way I play,” he said about the message from IU. “And then after getting to know me over the last few weeks they think I would fit in well with what their staff does spiritually and on the football field. They feel that how they do things at Indiana is how I do things in my everyday life.”
The Kansas native admitted that he is not very knowledgeable about Indiana, but he plans on learning more about them.
“I actually don’t know a whole lot about Indiana,” Ruder said. “Being from Kansas I am pretty far away from Indiana so I’ve never heard that much about them. So I don’t know much about them, but I feel after they showed me the respect by offering me a scholarship it is my job to do some research on their school just to show them that respect back. I will look into them and do my part of the research.”
Ruder is hoping he can find a way to make a trip to Bloomington for a visit, but with his schedule and with where he is located that will be a challenge.
“I would potentially like to do that but it will depend on me being able to find the time to do that,” he said. “That will be difficult because I am busy with basketball and track, and I have a great opportunity to win a state championship in both of those sports. I am also quite a ways away from the nearest airport so it is pretty hard to go anywhere that doesn’t cost a lot.”
This past fall in 11 games Ruder threw for around 1,600 yards with 14 touchdowns, and he rushed for around 750 yards and 16 scores. The Norton H.S. standout felt that the 2016 season went pretty well for him and the team.
“As a team we ended up making it to the second round of the state playoffs, which in itself is an accomplishment because a lot of teams don’t even get the opportunity to play in the playoffs, but it didn’t end the way we wanted it too because we wanted to win that state championship,” he said about his junior year. “For me individually, I think I stepped up my play from the year before, but there is always room for improvement. I do feel like I improved on my aggressiveness and being more relentless as a player. I also thought I got better as a passer and at being comfortable in the pocket. That was something I needed to improve on from sophomore year to my junior year.”
Besides the offers from Tulsa and Indiana, the talented prospect also has offers from Iowa, Kansas State, Syracuse, Bowling Green, Colorado State, Ohio, Toledo and Emporia State. He said that his commitment to Tulsa is strong, but there is a chance another school could get him to reconsider.
“I am interested (in Indiana), but I am committed to Tulsa and I am firm in that commitment as of now,” Ruder said. “I am not sure what it would take to get me to change my mind. A big part of where I end up will be based on where I am comfortable and where I feel like I am at home with the area, the college, as well as the coaches.”