The first thing Trevor Ruhland does when he returns from a football camp targeting college recruits is to sit down and start Googling the competition.
The 6-foot-4, 265-pound Cary-Grove junior lineman will watch YouTube videos of fellow campers who he's met and who are able to rattle off the scholarship offers they've received. The more video clips Ruhland watches, the more he becomes motivated, anxious to prove he's just as worthy.
So far, his list of offers stands at one after Minnesota offered Ruhland following a strong performance at a junior one-day camp in Minneapolis. A pulled hamstring suffered earlier this summer kept Ruhland from participating in as many camps as he would have liked in June, limiting his trips this summer to Minnesota and Vanderbilt.
But for Ruhland, who started as a sophomore on C-G's Class 6A state runner-up team last year, the attention is just starting to build for a lineman whose combination of size and agility have made him attractive to potential college suitors.
Ruhland, whose father, Matt, played at Iowa in the 1980s, has already made unofficial visits to Northwestern, Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Vanderbilt, Purdue and Iowa – all potential Big Ten landing spots. He is prohibited from having contact with schools until Sept. 1, after which point he can interact with them on social media networks, starting what he expects will begin a chaotic recruiting rush.
But getting his first offer, especially from a Big Ten school, was, in Ruhland's words, "huge".
"It's like the weight of the world is off my shoulders," Ruhland said. "I've been going to camps since I was an eighth grader because this is everything I've dreamed of and worked for every day. So it was a great relief and also very exciting and it motivated me to work even harder."
Watching the YouTube videos sometimes frustrates Ruhland, who believes he's better than the other linemen he goes to camps with. This year, he'll play two ways for the Trojans as C-G coach Brad Seaburg says he expects Ruhland to take on a much larger role. Last year, there were plenty of veterans around Ruhland.
Ruhland expects to factor into his team's leadership structure more, a responsibility Seaburg believes Ruhland is ready for.
"He had that experience, he had that taste of playing in a state championship game and we're hoping he can kind of change his role this year," Seaburg said. "This year he's going to be looked at as a leader – not only on the offensive line, but on the whole team."
Ruhland has also made changes individually, adding 60 pounds to his bench press, going from 250 pounds to 310 while adding 110 pounds to his squats, taking his personal best up to 430.
In addition to Ruhland's ability to move well for a lineman, recruiters have told Ruhland they like his work ethic and nasty streak. It's a mentality Ruhland hopes to build on during his final two years at C-G, when more college offers pour in.
"I'm guessing it will be kind of crazy," Ruhland said, "but will be exciting at the same time. But I'm going to keep playing with that chip on my shoulder. I go back and watch film of my sophomore year and I say, 'Wow - that's not good enough'. So I'll definitely be better this year."