player of the day
40 TIME 4.65
Pros: Has the size and speed you look for, and a fiery demeanor and great knowledge of the game to go with it. Has the ability to step in and start on opening day.
Cons: Doesn't have the raw talent of Crowder, but will be very good.
Draft Exchange Analysis:
2004 Preseason First-Team All-American (Blue Ribbon) 2004 Preseason Honorable-Mention All-American (Street & Smith's) 2004 Preseason First-Team All-Big 12 (Athlon Sports, Lindy's, Street & Smith's) 2004 Preseason No. 1 ILB in Big 12 (Sporting News) 2004 Preseason No. 10 ILB in Nation (Lindy's) 2004 Preseason No. 12 ILB in Nation (Sporting News) 2003 Second-Team All-Big 12 (Associated Press, FW Star-Telegram, Dallas Morning News) 2003 Third-Team All-Big 12 (Coaches) Two-Time First-Team Academic All-Big 12 (2002, 2003) 2003 Butkus Award Watch List 2003 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week (Texas A&M) Nebraska Season Record for Tackles (149 in 2003) 2002 Honorable-Mention All-Big 12 (Coaches) 2001 Second-Team Freshman All-American (Sporting News) Three-Time Big 12 Commissioner's Spring Academic Honor Roll (2002, 2003, 2004) 2002 Big 12 Commissioner's Fall Honor Roll
2004 Outlook Senior linebacker Barrett Ruud (pronounced RUDE) is set for his third season as Nebraska starting Mike linebacker and the anchor of the Blackshirt defense. Ruud had a solid sophomore year in 2002, but exploded last fall to produce one of the finest seasons ever by a Husker defender. He is primed to contend for conference and national honors this fall under the direction of first-year defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove.
Ruud is a physical run-stopper who also boasts excellent speed for his position, allowing him to make plays from sideline to sideline. The 6-2, 240-pounder has shown the skill and agility to drop into pass coverage when needed. The Lincoln Southeast graduate will be asked to take a strong leadership role this fall. Ruud is one of just two seniors among Nebraska's six returning defensive starters and he will be counted on to provide stability to a linebacking corps that lost outside linebackers Demorrio Williams and T.J. Hollowell to graduation.
Ruud showed the ability to dominate in 2003, with a NU season-record 149 tackles, breaking the previous record of 141, set by Lee Kunz in 1977. His standout junior season moved Ruud near the top of the Nebraska career tackle list. Entering his senior year, Ruud ranks second on the Husker charts with 289 career tackles, just 53 behind career leader Jerry Murtaugh, who had 342 tackles from 1968 to 1970.
Ruud was rewarded for his standout play last season. A preseason member of the Butkus Award watch list, Ruud was a second-team All-Big 12 selection by the Associated Press, Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Dallas Morning News, and a third-team pick by the league coaches. Ruud was also honored for his work in the classroom, as he was named a first-team academic All-Big 12 selection for the second consecutive year. He carries a 3.329 cumulative grade-point average in business management and will be a contender for academic All-America honors this fall. Ruud is scheduled to graduate in May of 2005.
The Ruud family has a long history with Nebraska football. Barrett's father, Tom (1972-73-74) played for Nebraska, as did two of his uncles (Bob Martin, John Ruud) and his great-grandfather, Clarence Swanson. Barrett?s younger brother, Bo, is redshirt freshman Sam linebacker for the Huskers, and the siblings could possibly line up alongside each other this season.
2003 (Junior) Ruud started all 13 games at middle linebacker as a junior and made a school-record 149 tackles, including 78 unassisted stops. He recorded double figures in tackles nine times, including seven of the season's final eight games. Ruud recorded 14 or more tackles in each of the final four regular-season contests, including a career-high 17 stops at Texas and 16 in NU's victory at Colorado. Ruud finished the season tied for seventh nationally in total tackles.
In addition to his 149 total tackles, Ruud finished second on the team to Demorrio Williams in tackles for loss (14-39) and quarterback hurries (11), and ranked third on the team in sacks (2.5-21). He also forced a team-high four fumbles, and recovered three others, including a 15-yard return for a touchdown in NU's 17-7 season-opening win over No. 24 Oklahoma State.
An agile player for his position, Ruud was strong in pass coverage. He intercepted a pass against Texas A&M and returned the pick 27 yards for his second touchdown of the season, and also broke up five passes. The interception for a touchdown against A&M was part of Nebraska's school-record eight takeaways in the 48-12 rout. Ruud also had 10 tackles, a sack and a fumble caused in the contest and was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week. He was a key figure in a Husker defense that ranked in the top 15 nationally in four statistical categories, including 11th in total defense, first in pass efficiency defense and second in scoring defense. The Blackshirts also finished second nationally in takeaways with 47, pacing NU to a nation-best +1.77 turnover margin.