Matt Cashore / Irish Illustrated

Irish A-to-Z: Trevor Ruhland

The earliest Ruhland could start is 2018, and even that is up in the air with the potential fifth-year for Alex Bars and the threat of Aaron Banks and perhaps Robert Hainsey.

A three-star prospect out of Cary, Ill., Ruhland was a three-star rated by Scout as the No. 35 offensive guard following his senior season at Cary-Grove Community. As a senior, Ruhland was named 1st-team all-state by the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association.

Ruhland was one of 10 Irish freshmen in ’15 who preserved a year of eligibility, joining offensive line classmate Tristen Hoge.

Ruhland saw action in nine games as a red-shirt freshman in ’16, including each of the last eight games as a regular member of Notre Dame’s place-kick blocking crew.

He did not appear to make much headway in the spring of ’17 with early-entry freshman Aaron Banks taking the bulk of reps at left guard behind Quenton Nelson and fifth-year senior Hunter Bivin the likely backup to Alex Bars at right guard.

Class: Jr. (Eligibility: 3)
On The Depth Chart: No. 3 right guard behind Alex Bars
Post-Spring Status: Unchanged

RUHLAND AT HIS BEST

The best is yet to come…or not. Ruhland lacks the stature/frame of his offensive line brethren at Notre Dame. Yet Ruhland enters the 2017 season with three years of eligibility remaining.

QUOTABLE

“What we really loved about Trevor was his toughness, the demeanor that he brings. We were looking for an interior guy that really fit our style of play, somebody that was going to never take a play off. We loved his toughness.” -- Brian Kelly, signing day 2015

BEST CASE SCENARIO

Quenton Nelson’s move to the NFL after the ’17 season will open up one guard spot. Another guard candidate, Hunter Bivin, also will be gone following the upcoming season. Two interior offensive linemen – Tristen Hoge and Parker Boudreaux – have transferred. Suddenly, the path to playing time in the future is not as clogged as it was prior to the spring. Ruhland conceivably is in line for a shot as a starter in 2018-19.

WORST CASE SCENARIO

Listed at 6-foot-3¼, Ruhland is a bit undersized by Notre Dame standards. Early-entry freshman Aaron Banks likely mans one starting guard spot, perhaps as early as 2018. Alex Bars, at least at the present time, is expected to return in ’18. That could prevent Ruhland from grabbing a spot until 2019, and by then, early-entry freshman Robert Hainsey could be an interior line option after working at left tackle this spring. Ruhland’s path to playing time may never materialize.

CAREER COMPARISON

Ryan Gillis, a 6-foot-3, 305-pounder interior offensive lineman from Fawn Lake, Va., came to Notre Dame via DeMatha Catholic High School. After preserving a year of eligibility in 1999, Gillis saw action in three games on special teams in 2000, and then became regular member of the Irish place-kick team in 2001.

First, it was Jim Jones and then Sean Mahan who prevented Gillis from ascending to the first unit. Ruhland could find himself in a situation as he moves forward.


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