Trevor Ruhland has been around football for his entire life, so when we say 2012 may have been his best football year, that is saying something.
The 6'4, 270-lb sophomore from Cary-Grove High in Illinois stepped in and won a varsity job in his first year at that level for a team that would make it all the way to the state title game.
"I played on the sophomore team as a freshman," Ruhland explains. "My sophomore year was definitely a lot slower, but I think my game improved from freshman year to now my sophomore year. It definitely took some adjusting. There were two seniors ahead of me when I first moved up, but then I beat them out."
From there, neither Ruhland nor his team looked back. The team averaged nearly 36 points a game, went undefeated in the regular season and made it to the state title game where they lost to Crete-Monee.
"It was great. It was so much fun going down to state. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. We worked so hard, got so close, it's probably the biggest motivator. We lost so many seniors. We have five guys returning, but we made it a priority to step up and get back to next year."
With his size and the ability he has shown this year, there appears to be little doubt Ruhland will be hearing from schools across the country by the time he is a senior.
He already is hearing from a number of Midwestern programs including Iowa, Illinios, Michigan State and others.
"I've seen games at Iowa. I went to Iowa camp, Northwestern camp, Northern Illinois camp and Notre Dame camp."
His father Matt is a former Hawkeye offensive lineman, so Trevor has much familiarity with the program.
"It's great. It's a great school and I think it would make my dad extremely happy if I played there. The football program there is amazing."
Ruhland is doing anything but closing himself off to other schools though. Last summer's camps opened him up to the world of college football and recruiting, and he says getting to camp at Notre Dame and seeing the sights and sounds there was an eye opener.
"That camp was crazy. There were so many people there. The campus is so beautiful. It was a great experience. There was good competition and getting coached by the best coaches in the nation. I got good feedback on what to work on and what my strengths are."
Then there was Northwestern, which Ruhland says was his best experience of the camp season.
"That was probably my favorite camp. There were about 50 smaller schools there taking notes, looking at kids, and 600 kids over a two-day camp. It was definitely the best camp."
Over the next year, expect to hear a lot more about Trevor Ruhland from a recruiting perspective. He will be busy on the camp circuit again this year and hopes a couple more Big Ten program will jump in.
"Michigan and Wisconsin, I like those schools a lot, and would like to hear a lot more from them. They would be two of my top choices."
Sophomore Highlights - OT #57