Ruch Solid: Quakertown alum starting on gridiron for Rutgers
Written by: Don Leypoldt on Wednesday, July 29th, 2009.
Follow Don Leypoldt on Twitter.
This ran on the July 29th issue of the Bucks County Herald.
Rutgers’ Dec. 4 game against Big East foe Louisville last season was the evening’s only national prime contest. Wow, did they take advantage of the spotlight. The Scarlet Knights pulverized Louisville, taking a 49-0 lead at the half and winning 63-14. Rutgers put up an astounding 671 yards of total offense. There on national TV, helping to create Mack-truck-sized holes for Rutgers’ running backs, was left guard Caleb Ruch. RU quarterback — and future Seahawk draftee –Mike Teel threw for 447 yards. On most pass attempts he had enough time in the pocket to make a pot of coffee. Thanks to his blockers like no. 60, Caleb Ruch. A former Quakertown standout, sophomore Ruch started 10 of the Scarlet Knights’ 13 contests last season. “The one area that is really impressive with him is his strength and body fat. He has very little body fat,” observed Quakertown head coach John Donnelly, who has known Ruch for a decade and watches him play often. “He is very lean for an offensive lineman. I think that that is a credit to his work ethic and to the staff and strength and conditioning coaches at Rutgers that helped him get to that level.”2008 may not have been the smoothest ride for Ruch or Rutgers. At the season’s midway point, the Scarlet Knights were 1-5 and Ruch was sitting on the bench after starting the first four games. “I just wasn’t playing up to the coaches expectations,” he offered. “They had to put someone else in and I had to work hard and try and earn my way back on the field.””He did lose his spot for a short period of time where he got a little too comfortable with things and they challenged him,”echoed Donnelly. “But he responded and earned his spot back. I don’t think he is going to be looking back now.”The 6’4”, 285-pound Ruch — and Rutgers — did respond in a big, offensive linemansized way. Rutgers closed the season with seven straight wins — including a bowl game. Ruch started six of those victories. “We were shuffling through offensive lines for the first couple of games,” Ruch explained, “and we finally got some guys up front who really gelled together and molded. We started playing a lot better than we did at the beginning of the year.”As a senior, Ruch was the first Quakertown Panther to be named to the A.P.’s AAAA All-State first team. He allowed just one sack in his last two prep seasons. Colleges noticed. “Rutgers called me in early August and told me they were going to be taking one more guy on the inside,” remembered Ruch. “They asked me if I wanted that spot and I said, ‘Yes.’ “”He started for us for four years and there aren’t too many guys in Suburban One who can do that,” recalled Donnelly. “I’ve known Caleb since he was in middle school and he was so much more mature physically than most kids his age. But at that point there was no indicator in terms of his playing at a high level.”By the end of the Panthers’ 2005 season, Donnelly and Ruch — then a junior — suspected something special was going to happen. Especially after the two constructed Ruch’s highlight tape. “It was truly phenomenal,” Donnelly exclaimed. “He did well against great competition and at that point it was pretty obvious that he was going to have a lot of attention from a lot of schools. “He had something like 26 pancake blocks. He just planted himself on top of guys and I think that the highlights did it for him.”Ruch found Piscataway, N.J., to be light years away from the Suburban One League in terms of football. “It is a completely different world from a mental and physical standpoint. You’re playing against bigger guys,” Ruch said. “The defenses are running much harder schemes to pick up and block.”But Piscataway is also physically close to home, which had its own fringe benefits. “At the time I was making the decision, the proximity of my house wasn’t a big factor,”Ruch admitted. “But now that I’m in college, I can go home on the weekends. My parents can make it to all the games. It is really nice being so close to home.”The 2009 version of the Scarlet Knights carry strong momentum from last season. Ruch and his mates have accordingly set ambitious goals. He stated, “For the offensive line, we have a tradition around here. In the past couple of years we’ve been in the top five in the country in giving up sacks. We’ve also averaged over 200 yards rushing a game. Those are pretty much the goals that we are going to be going for this year.””He came back in the spring time and worked out in our weight room,” noted Donnelly. “It was great for our younger guys to see him and what he has accomplished.”What Ruch has accomplished is impressive. But with two years of eligibility left at a rising program, it’s a safe bet that Ruch will accomplish much more.
Rutgers guard Caleb Ruch made a name for himself at Quakertown, where he was
named All-State as a senior.
Follow EasternPAFootball.com on Twitter @EPAFootball
Leave a Reply