Trevor Ruhland won’t rush making a decision on where he’ll play college football once he graduates in 2015. But the junior offensive lineman has plenty of Division I options – including five from the Big Ten as well as Kentucky, Syracuse, Cal-Berkeley, Duke, Northern Illinois and others. The son of a former Big Ten player, Ruhland has adjusted to the constant barrage of recruiting attention he receives on a daily basis and via a host of communications avenues. While the process can be overwhelming at times, Ruhland said he can’t imagine his life without it.
Sometimes, it is crazy getting so many messages on Facebook and coaches wanting me to call them and, when it’s not a dead period, them coming in. It’s crazy to realize how far I’ve come and how much there is still to do. So sometimes, it’s good to just slow down and take a deep breath and realize what’s going on in front of me. It’s exciting, but it is a lot. It is a full-time thing and most of it is kind of manageable – knowing what schools are contacting you, who’s supposed to call on a certain day. It’s something you’ve got to stay on top of. It’s a lot, but I enjoy it.
Recruiting back in the ’80s (when Ruhland’s dad, Matt, played at Iowa) is a lot different than it is now. Back in that time, there was no Scout.com, there was no Under Armour camps – stuff like that. So it was a lot different. But knowing why he chose Iowa over other schools – knowing what he was looking for – it does help me a lot and gives me a little perspective. But it’s crazy, when we go to schools, my dad knows at least one person at each school that he can make a connection with. That gives me an inside advantage and he’s definitely a big influence and very important in helping me make a decision.
I probably get asked once a day what school I’m going to. I was in the bathroom and the janitor came in to switch out the toilet paper and he asked me what school I’m going to. It’s crazy. But it is important to keep all of my options open. I don’t know if the right school has offered me yet, and I don’t know if I’m even talking to the right schools so far. So it’s important to stay open and make sure I pick the school that is right for me. It’s hard, because it seems like every time I visit a school I walk away and feel like I like that school the most. But I look back at all the times I have been places and I like them all. There’s no bad choice, but I’m going to take my time and make sure I pick the right school.
I go (online) and I do look myself up and look at the schools that are out there. But I also look up the other kids who are getting recruited. I consider them my competition – the Illinois kids or (kids that are being recruited) by other area schools. I’ll say, ‘Wow – this kid has a Notre Dame offer – I want that, so I’m going to work harder so I can get that.’ When we go on visits and there are other offensive line recruits, my mom and I will write them down or we’ll remember their names. We’ll come home and we look them up and we watch their film and we compare it. It’s important to know the other competition and know where you stack up. As a competitor, I want as many offers as I can get so, the more options, the better. It will be a harder choice, but it will be a better choice.
• I’m Just Saying is a regular Sunday feature. If there’s someone you would like to see featured, write to me at email@example.com or send me a message on Twitter @NWH_JeffArnold.