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The Cardinal Countdown: 65 Days Until Kickoff

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South Florida v Louisville Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

#65 Ronald Rudd

Class: RS Junior

Ht/Wt: 6-5/328

Position: Offensive Line

Hometown: Rialto, CA

Twitter: @bigtymeballa000

Thoughts: In my spare time I like to fiddle around in my garage and build things from time to time. I’m not sure I would classify myself as a woodworker but I enjoy the hobby when I get an opportunity. Occasionally to support my hobby I’ll go buy a new tool or gadget to try and make my task easier, but I’ve found that buying a less expensive tool can actually make the process much more difficult, constantly having to try and fix it, adjust it, modify it, etc. A bargain bin screwdriver, for example, is not the same as a Craftsman. What I’m getting at is that 6-5 and 340 pounds is not always 6-5 and 340 pounds. When the Cards added Rudd to the 2017 class out of Chaffey College, where he was an All-American on the JUCO ranks and considered a Top 3 O-lineman coming out school, the noise around the commit was very positive. The Cards needed all the depth they could find at that time and having just got a commitment from yesterday’s man of the hour (Bentley) a few weeks prior, the O-line was gaining momentum. There were a few folks locally who thought Rudd would be a starter in 2017, that he was that good. Well, that didn’t exactly pan out as expected.

Rudd showed up to Louisville rocking that large frame that won him more than a couple honors at the JUCO level, but was nowhere near where he needed to be physically to be a consistent contributor on the D-I level. Petrino didn’t mince words last year calling Rudd out of shape and not ready to compete. Motivation or not, it appears Rudd took that to heart. After battling for 3rd string reps in 2017 Rudd has dropped over 10 pounds and added grown man strength to his repertoire in the last 365 days. Summers said his effort and his energy level has gotten better and he will be fighting to get playing time this year among the rest of the group. The bad news for Rudd is that the Cards have depth on the line this season; the good news though is that he has the intangibles to be a decent part of that depth if he continues to improve. While I like our projected starters and even feel confidence in the two or three guys next in line, it’d be great to have a solid second five ready to go when the inevitable knee/ankle/foot injury occurs. Rudd has shown he can be a really good player but has to work on doing it every single time and being able to do it multiple times each game without getting gassed.

Good luck to Rudd this year fighting his way back into the rotation. I’ll be excited to watch his growth this fall and into the season.

***

Game 11: North Carolina State Wolfpack

Key Player: Ryan Finley, Quarterback, Senior

I mentioned my respect for Eric Dungey yesterday, calling him a Top 3 QB in the ACC when he’s healthy, well, also in that Top 3 for 2018 is Ryan Finley. The Boise State transfer, now playing year three in Raleigh, flirted with the NFL Draft last season but came back to compete for an ACC title. All the needling I took at NC State the last three-four years finally bit me as the “this could be NC State’s year” annual tradition was close enough to allow others to point and laugh if they felt so inclined. A second place finish in the Atlantic was due in large part to Finley’s play and leadership as he finished second in the conference in yardage and completion percentage. Finley has the talent to single-handedly win a few games this year, but shouldn’t have to as the team is gonna be loaded on both sides of the ball and look to make another run. If the Wolfpack are still in the hunt for the ACC title in Week 12 a win on the road at Louisville will be critical in wrapping up that opportunity. If they’re not in the race you better believe Finley will still be looking to improve his NFL stock as the season winds down.

Sweet Tweet: Rudd’s tweets are protected so no funny quip or humorous anecdote today, which is probably for the better considering Rudd’s pops appears that he would not find my quip funny OR my anecdote humorous…like, at all. On with your day. Love you Poppa Rudd.