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Merrick, New Yor
Barrett Ruud, MLB+OLB, Nebraska
Height: 6:01.2 Weight: 242
Overview: Barrett was a standout linebacker and I-back at Lincoln (Neb.) Southeast High School, where he earned Prep Star All-American defensive honors while leading the team to three Class A state titles. The four-year letterman helped the team compile a 48-2 record and four state playoff appearances during his career. The Knights won Class A state titles in 1997, 1998 and 2000. He was a two-time All-Nebraska honoree by the Omaha World-Herald and a two-time super-state pick by the Lincoln Journal Star. The World-Herald named him honorary captain of the offense, while the Journal Star named him the Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Prep Athlete of the Year. Ruud is a very intelligent athlete who garnered several conference and school academic awards as he attained a 3.33 grade point average in Business Management. He followed his father, Tom (1972-73-74), two uncles (Bob Martin, 1973-74-75; and John Ruud, 1978-79) and his great-grandfather Clarence Swanson (1918-19-20-21) to the Husker football program. Tom Ruud was an All-Big Eight linebacker for the Huskers and earned academic all-conference honors two years. He was a first-round draft pick in 1975 by Buffalo and played three years for the Bills (1975-76-77) and two years for the Cincinnati Bengals (1978-79). Barret's younger brother, Bo, was a teammate at Nebraska the last two seasons. Barrett earned Freshman All-American second-team honors from The Sporting News as a true freshman in 2001, recording 49 tackles (17 solos) with six stops for losses. He started every game at middle linebacker in 2002, ranking second on the team with 91 tackles (36 solos), including a pair of sacks, 13 quarterback pressures, 12 stops for losses and a pair of forced fumbles. The All-Big Twelve Conference second-team pick in 2003 registered 149 tackles (78 solos) with 14 stops behind the line of scrimmage, eleven pressures, three fumble recoveries and four forced fumbles. He topped the old Husker single-season record of 141 tackles by Lee Kunz in 1977. He followed that with an All-American season as he collected 143 tackles (86 solos) with three sacks, 18 stops for losses and four pressures as a senior. In his final 24 games, Barrett recorded at least ten tackles 18 times. His 432 career tackles (217 solos) broke the previous school career-record of 342 by Jerry Murtaugh (1968-70) and his 50 stops behind the line of scrimmage are topped only by Grant Wistrom's 58.5 on Nebraska's all-time record list. Ruud started 37 of 50 contests at Nebraska, adding eight sacks for minus-48 yards, 29 quarterback pressures, three fumble recoveries, seven forced fumbles, thirteen pass deflections and an interception. Nebraska head coach Bill Callahan recently said of Ruud, "I can see why he makes the tackles he does because he's well-prepared. He's into the game, and he loves football. You see him work and function on the field, and you see a desire to make a play. He has the ability to diagnose a play, an offense, and a blocking scheme. He knows where he fits. He knows how to play off other players, and he's relentless. Even if he's not there, he's going to chase the ball, and he's going to get there. To me, that's one of the outstanding attributes of his play." Nebraska defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove chimed in, "Barrett Ruud is as efficient of a linebacker as I've ever been around. He's very smart and always in the right spot. He's becoming a more physical player, has tremendous range and is just a smart player. He really understands the game and picks things up very well."
Analysis: PositivesThe three-year starter at middle linebacker has been the unquestioned leader of the defense throughout his career. Despite working with four different defensive schemes, he was quick to pick up the new playbooks and execute what the coaches wanted on the field. He possesses a good blend of quickness, agility, balance and flexibility, along with outstanding acceleration. He knows his assignments and those of his teammates, doing a very good job of lining people up. He is very quick reading blocking keys and has proven he can handled the mental aspect of the game. Ruud is more of a flow-to-the ball type of tackler than one who can step up and punish, due to a lack of ideal size and playing strength. However, he has exceptional quickness and acceleration to the ball and that speed lets him race past the slower blockers to make plays in the backfield. He always gives good effort and has the intelligence to handle assignments in either the base or schemed defense. He reads and reacts quickly to plays in front of him and also shows immediate reaction when operating in pass coverage. He has a good feel for taking proper angles to the ball, utilizing his above average straight-line speed. Barrett has the burst to run around blocks and excels at using his speed to get an outside edge on offensive linemen. He shows tremendous intensity and urgency to run and pursue down plays on the outside. Ruud has the lateral agility needed to work his way through trash, showing fluid lateral moves. He shows a good feel for zone coverage, getting proper depth in his pass drops and reacting quickly to plays in front of him. He needs to improve his stop-and-go action, as he tends to gather when having to redirect. His change of direction agility is only adequate though, and he does not show ideal hip snap when having to move laterally. Ruud might not have the bulk to take on the bigger blockers, but he is very effective when asked to face up or take angles to make the tackle. Ruud has a very good feel for reading blocking keys and fills the rush lanes instantly. His problems tend to arise when he has to take on a block and get off it to make the play, as he struggles some to disengage. He needs to increase his short area power base in order to do a better job of gaining leverage when taking on the bigger blockers. Barrett looks a little stiff in his hips when coming out of his backpedal, but he has the feet to redirect and break on the ball. He has natural hands to make the interception or pass deflection, and as long as he is moving in space he presents problems for blockers trying to sustain. Ruud's acceleration is evident by the way he suddenly attacks the ball, but he needs to control his momentum as he will get too reckless and over-pursue at times, taking himself out of the play. He shows very good hand usage to shed and disengage blocks and avoid trash getting through traffic. While Ruud is alert and makes excellent reads and assignment calls, I think his speed and blitzing ability could be better served as an outside linebacker. He has good strength, but not enough power to shows explosion at the point of attack. Barrett is not known as a punishing tackler and needs to generate more leverage when facing up to blockers working in trash. Still, he has great field intelligence, shows urgency in his play and is a sound technician who compensates for a lack of ideal change of direction agility by taking proper angles. While he was not used often in pass coverage, he does have the pass drop depth and awareness of patterns and crossers to make plays in pursuit. He has the tools to develop into a quality linebacker and will bring immediate value on the punt coverage unit. Among the 2005 NFL Draft senior linebackers, he shows the most promise.
Agility tests: 4.65 in the 40-yard dash...375-pound bench press...565-pound squat...355-pound power clean...31.5-inch vertical jump...9'6" broad jump...32 -inch arm length...9 5/8-inch hands.
High school: Attended Lincoln (Neb.) Southeast High School, playing football for coach Chuck Mizerski...Competed as an I-back and linebacker...The four-year letterman helped the team compile a 48-2 record, and four state playoff appearances...The Knights won Class A state titles in 1997, 1998 and 2000...Two-time All-Nebraska honoree by the Omaha World-Herald and a two-time super-state pick by the Lincoln Journal Star...The World-Herald named him honorary captain of the offense, while the Journal Star named him the offensive player of the year, defensive player of the year and prep athlete of the year...Earned All-American honors as a linebacker from Prep Star and Student Sports.
Personal: Business Management major, possessing a 3.29 grade point average...Assisted with the FFA Youth Leadership Conference in 2001 and has been a volunteer speaker during American Education Week...Son of Jaime and Tom Ruud...Barrett is no stranger to Nebraska football, as he followed his father, Tom (1972-73-74), two uncles (Bob Martin, 1973-74-75; and John Ruud, 1978-79) and his great-grandfather Clarence Swanson (1918-19-20-21) to the Husker gridiron...Tom Ruud was an All-Big Eight linebacker for the Huskers and earned academic all-conference honors two years. He was a first-round draft pick in 1975 by Buffalo and played three years for the Bills (1975-76-77) and two years for the Cincinnati Bengals (1978-79)...Brother, Bo, was a teammate at Nebraska the last two years...Born 5/20/83...Resides in Lincoln, Nebraska.
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