Cary-Grove's Ruhland verbally commits to Notre Dame

For 10 days, Trevor Ruhland knew his mind was made up.

Ever since Notre Dame had offered the Cary-Grove junior offensive lineman a scholarship earlier this month, the Irish remained on the top of Ruhland's recruiting list. On Tuesday night, the last before he would announce that he intended to play football in South Bend, Ruhland struggled to contain his excitement.

But knowing he would have to take his ACT before verbally committing to Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, Ruhland knew he had to remained focused.

"It was a huge day, I had my ACT, I was committing and so, I got my sleep but I thought about it all (Tuesday night) and all today during the ACT," Ruhland said on Wednesday. "We'll see how that reflects on my score."

Ruhland's commitment to the Irish ended what had been a strenuous recruiting process that landed him more than a dozen Division I offers, including five from the Big Ten. But after visiting Notre Dame for the fourth time earlier this month when he received his offer, Ruhland knew knocking the Irish from the top of his list would be difficult.

The fact Notre Dame offensive line coach Harry Hiestand was visiting Cary-Grove Wednesday provided Ruhland the perfect opportunity to announce his decision. Ruhland's parents and brother showed up at the high school wearing Notre Dame gear before Ruhland broke the news – first to Hiestand and then by phone to Kelly.

Under NCAA rules, Kelly cannot comment on recruits until they have signed a National Letter of Intent.

"It's a big relief off my shoulders," Ruhland said. "It's been a crazy process and I've definitely enjoyed it. But (Notre Dame) is definitely a place I've wanted to be, it's a place where I feel I'm the most comfortable, where I'm going to enjoy myself, where I'm going to become a better person, a better football player and a better man.

"This is the place where I want to go. So I'm excited – I think this is the best decision I've ever made."

C-G coach Brad Seaburg said the Notre Dame offer was a bit of a game-changer. From the time Ruhland received his first offer from Minnesota last July, Seaburg saw the recruitment of his top offensive lineman go in waves. With each offer, Ruhland would add the school to his list of options, willing to wait possibly as late as this summer before making a final decision.

But because of the weight an offer from the Irish carried, Seaburg knew it was just a matter of time before Ruhland made a decision.

"It's not that he wasn't thinking seriously (about the future) before that, but it became more of a, 'OK, I need to really start thinking about this,'" Seaburg said.

Ruhland said getting his college choice out of the way now allows him to focus on finishing his career with the Trojans. C-G reached the Class 6A state championship game during Ruhland's sophomore year. Now, with a year remaining in his high school career, Ruhland will turn his focus to helping deliver a state title to C-G.

Once his high school career ends, though, Ruhland knows what is waiting for him.

"I feel like it's probably one of the best schools in the country," Ruhland said. "The success and the tradition they have there is unmatched. You walk through the halls and you see all the great players that have played there, you walk down the stairs, you tap the (Play Like A Champion Today) sign – that's something you're not going to get anywhere else.

"It's amazing to me that I'm going to be able to put on the gold helmet and go out there and play on Saturdays."