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irish insider

Ruhland maintains perspective as a starter

| Friday, November 9, 2018

Even though he wasn’t born and bred Notre Dame, four years has been enough to make Trevor Ruhland’s blood run blue and gold.

Ruhland, a senior offensive lineman who has become a valuable piece this season, has proven himself as a leader both on and off the field. With the injury of captain, veteran guard and fellow lineman Alex Bars, Ruhland has had the opportunity to show Irish fans what he’s made of.

Eddie Griesedieck

Irish senior offensive lineman Trevor Ruhland runs onto the field before Notre Dame’s 56-27 road win over Wake Forest on Sept. 22.

“This is what I’ve been preparing for for four years, so I’ve been ready for it … it hurts losing Alex. It still hurts not seeing him out there. He’s one of my best friends, but someone had to step up and take his spot. I’m glad I was able to do that,” Ruhland said.

Ruhland, who has previously played as both a scout player and reserve lineman, made his first collegiate start this year against Wake Forest at left guard. Notre Dame went on to rout the Demon Deacons in Winston-Salem with a stellar offensive performance, the final score reading 56-27. Ruhland has since started in three games, all of which have been Irish wins.

But this newfound playing time hasn’t really changed Ruhland’s presence on the team outside of football, despite its implications on the field. A leader among his peers, Ruhland continues to hold both himself and his teammates to a high standard.

“I have a good voice in the locker room. I wouldn’t say that’s changed too much, but my role as a football player has changed. I’m counted on more,” he said.

And Ruhland has certainly proven himself to be up to the challenge.

Ruhland has also proven himself dedicated in the classroom. As a Management Consulting major in the Mendoza College of Business, his commitment to his education is another reason why he chose Notre Dame.

A native of Cary, Illinois, Ruhland says that the proximity of South Bend to home, paired with the academic and athletic excellence that the University offers, made it the perfect fit for him. Like so many others, coming to campus was enough to assure him the he was meant to be Irish.

“Once I came here and visited I fell in love with the campus and the people, and it was really the people that made me come here,” Ruhland said.

And it will be the people, too, which Ruhland will miss most after his time at Notre Dame has come to a close, as his teammates have become both his support system and his best friends.

“I don’t know how I’m going to deal without the locker room,” Ruhland said. “Those guys mean everything to me and not being around them every day, as much as they drive me crazy and I’m sure I drive them crazy, it’s going to be tough to leave them.”

And always quick to humble himself, Ruhland credits these same teammates for his success.

“I wouldn’t be here without Sam Mustipher, number 53, my best friend, my center. Make sure that’s included,” he chuckled.

Luckily for Ruhland, the bonds made at Notre Dame are ones that stands for life. And eight semesters later, he is still happy with his college decision. “I love it here,” he adds with a grin that only someone who knows Notre Dame can understand. “This campus is the best.”

But it’s not just the football that makes Ruhland proud to be Irish.

“I love the student life here. I was in Siegfried Hall — shout out to the Ramblers. Some of those guys are still some of my best friends here and that’s always been good, having a supportive group of people that are outside of football,” he said.

Ruhland has found that the Notre Dame community as a whole has embraced him as well, particularly in his role as a student athlete.

“When you start winning, everybody gets behind you and supports you even more and it’s great.”

As the Irish have recorded their first 8-0 start since 2012, Ruhland and his teammates have certainly given Notre Dame fans something to cheer about. The senior isn’t entirely sure what the future will hold after his graduation. With a business degree, Ruhland has the potential to enter the workforce directly. But looking in another direction, he also has a year of eligibility remaining that could land him back on campus next fall, should he so desire.

Regardless, Ruhland knows the bonds he has formed with the University and those who attend it will not soon be forgotten.

“I’ll be back here.”

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