Rutledge Focused On Season Ahead

After a productive freshman season last fall, 2018 Orange Coast WR James Rutledge (6-4, 195) has drawn in two FBS offers, but instead of worrying about where he'll play in 2018, the talented wideout is focused squarely on improving as a player to maximize his second season with Pirates...

"Honestly, I'm not really even paying attention to (recruiting)," Rutledge admitted to recently. "I'm letting my coaches handle all of that because I don't want to take away from my team and from my offseason work, so I am really focused on that instead of what is happening with this school or that school."

Rutledge did confirm that he has received offers from Colorado State and Iowa State and that he knows of a handful of other schools, including Louisville and Oklahoma, that are talking to his coaches.

"It's cool getting the offers, don't get me wrong, but I just have other stuff I need to make sure I am focused on -- getting better every day and my academics -- so focusing on recruiting, especially right now, just isn't wise in my opinion," Rutledge noted. "I've talked to a bunch of coaches and I know my future will take care of itself if I do what I need to do as a player on the field and as a student in the classroom."

As a freshman last season, Rutledge finished second on his team with 36 receptions, 604 yards receiving and four touchdowns.

"I was blessed because I got to start every game for us and we had an explosive offense," Rutledge said. "I give it my all on every play, I don't take plays off, and I am pretty versatile, so that allows my coaches to do different things with me which keeps the defense off-balance.

"I can play in the slot or outside. I am good at getting off the press and finding soft spots in zones and I also feel really confident in my blocking skills as well.

"I want to get even more explosive out of my breaks and attack the ball even more this season."

As a prep in Lawton, Ok., Rutledge received quite a bit of attention from college coaches, but he was unable to get qualified, so he decided to make a new path for himself in California.

"The opportunity out here was too good to pass up," Rutledge said of his decision to pass on other top JUCO programs closer to home. "The competition every week we face is so good, it just gets you better and the coaches here at OCC are really good and they get your ready for the next level."

Rutledge is set to finish up his two-year degree in May of 2018 and he will have three years to play two following the 2017 football season.

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