Rated the No. 36 guard in the country coming out of Cary-Grove (Ill.) Community, 6-foot 3 ¼, 270-pound Trevor Ruhland began the process of slapping on some much-needed pounds while working at both tackle and guard during his rookie season with the Irish.
Ruhland preserved a year of eligibility as one of 10 freshmen that spent the season on the scout team, joining fellow interior offensive lineman Tristen Hoge with four years of eligibility heading into the 2016 season.
This spring, Ruhland worked predominantly at guard, slotting behind Quenton Nelson on the left side where he figures to work his way onto the field on special teams/placekicks.
• BEST-CASE SCENARIO
With the right guard position still unsettled coming out of the spring, Ruhland, Colin McGovern and true freshman Parker Boudreaux theoretically are in position to challenge Hunter Bivin for the starting spot.
• WORST-CASE SCENARIO
More likely than a run at the starting right guard position is a year preparing to take a step up in 2017. Look for Ruhland to land one of the interior line spots on field goals and extra points. He also could see action on Notre Dame’s punt and punt return teams.
• CAREER COMPARISON
Undersized weight-wise and still looking to add strength to his frame, Mike Golic, Jr. preserved a year of eligibility as a freshman interior offensive lineman in 2009. As a backup in 2010, Golic played in just three games as a sophomore. Golic eventually filled out his frame and developed into a four-game starter as a red-shirt junior and a 13-game starter at right guard as a red-shirt senior.
• DEVELOPMENT VS. RECRUITING RANKING
A three-star prospect, largely because at 6-foot-3 1/4, 270 pounds he didn’t have the bulk of some of the other top-rated guards in the country, Ruhland is about where you would expect him to be in his development. Stuck behind Steve Elmer and Quenton Nelson in ’15 as Nelson emerged as a mainstay and Elmer maintained his starting role, Ruhland likely will need at least another year or two in the system to emerge as a front-line interior offensive lineman.
• RUHLAND AT HIS BEST
Ruhland has bulked up to 300 pounds, but his main asset is/should be his mobility as a guard on the move in Notre Dame’s outside rushing attack and screen game.
• QUOTE OF NOTE
“I’ll most likely red-shirt. I’m a little undersized right now, but I’m going to put on weight and train, and I’m okay with that. It makes me better.”
-- Ruhland after signing with Notre Dame in February 2015