Chris Rutledge is a player that has not generated a lot of attention until recently. After putting on an impressive performance at the Nike Combine at Miami, this offensive lineman from Krop High School in Miami has crept onto the radar and has several programs interested in him.
The main factor playing in to Rutledge's obscurity is the fact that he is coming off his first season playing football. Furthermore, the Krop High School Lightning football team was just 2-8 last season. It is difficult to get recognized for personal accolades when the team is not performing well, as any Corey Dillon fan might understand.
Despite these obstacles, Rutledge is working hard on his game to help improve the Lightning record. All the while, he has already been offered by Rutgers, and the main players involved in his recruitment include Pittsburgh, Florida, Florida State, Auburn, and Ohio State.
Rutledge is going to camp at Rutgers and Pitt this summer, and he just returned from the Ohio State camp. "The Ohio State camp was a good experience," says Rutledge. "I learned a lot from the coaches. I heard it was a good place to showcase my talent. I knew there were going to be a lot of college coaches there, so I went out there and did what I had to do – and I learned a lot."
At Ohio State, Rutledge measured in at 6'7", 256 pounds, and ran a 4.9 forty. His performance at the Nike Combine was the turning point for Rutledge. "Coaches liked my size and potential. They said I have really good feet, and I didn't make too many mistakes." Rutledge is explosive off the ball and gets to the defense before they can get to him. "I try to use my hands as much as possible to keep people off my body and not allow any sacks because linemen hate getting beat." He is a quiet leader on the field and lets his performance speak for itself.
Rutledge has been working hard in the off-season developing his game since he is still relatively new to it. "I have been working on my speed. I want to get it into the 4.8 range. I am in the weight room constantly, always trying to get bigger. I am working mostly on upper-body this summer. Everybody in college is faster and stronger, so I am trying to get a strong as possible before I get to college," explains Rutledge. As an offensive lineman, he naturally looks up to Lincoln Kennedy and Orlando Pace as players to model his game after.
Although he doesn't know his stats from last season off the top of his head, Rutledge described a couple of games he played his best in last season. "We passed a lot in the game against Booker T. Washington. I used my hands and feet really well that game and didn't allow any sacks," Rutledge explains, "and in the spring game, we ran a lot, and on film you can see I showed off my run and pass blocking skills; and I got a few pancakes."
Rutledge always played basketball and baseball growing up, but was always a big football fan. He thought it would be fun to play since he enjoyed watching it so much, so he started playing and found it even more fun to play than to watch. "I only play football now. I love football. It is my life right now," says Rutledge.
Rutledge is quick to acknowledge the help and support he has gotten from his mom and his coach. "My mom doesn't know too much about football, but she is starting to learn and she is helping me out taking me to all these events and all these things I need to go to – and coach is helping me get noticed by coaches and camps."
Rutledge is a member of the Future Business Leaders of America at Krop High School. He wants to major in business and minor in culinary arts in college on the way to owning a restaurant one day.