When Brian Kelly addressed the media on Friday to wrap up the 2010 season, he gave Notre Dame fans an answer to a question that has been widely debated the last few weeks – walkon place kicker David Ruffer is now former-walkon David Ruffer.
Notre Dame’s record breaking place kicker will return for a 5th season in 2011 and will be on scholarship when he does after being on the Irish squad the past three years as a walkon.
“We are going to award David Ruffer a scholarship for next year,” Kelly said Friday when announcing that he didn’t have any other definitive answers on 5th year seniors for next season other than Ruffer.
Ruffer was not made available for comment on Friday, but he let fans know he was excited to be coming back via Twitter. “Let the early morning workouts continue…I’m coming back! Now let’s go fetch a NC!” tweeted Ruffer Friday afternoon.
Over the past two seasons Ruffer set a Notre Dame record with 23 consecutive field goals before recording the first miss of his career in the Sun Bowl against Miami. Two of those 23 field goals came from 50 yards out.
With Ruffer on scholarship for 2011, Notre Dame will have a total of four kickers/punters on the roster next season, but it’s hard to argue with the decision by Kelly and staff to bring back the closest thing to a sure thing Notre Dame has had at place kicker in a long, long time.
If there is an area in which Ruffer can improve for 2011 though, it’s extra points. Ironically, Ruffer has had much more trouble with point afters than he has with field goals as evidenced by his three misses in 2010.
Ruffer on scholarship, combined with the 23 verbal commitments pushes Notre Dame to 79 scholarship players for next season leaving 6 available scholarships for 5th year seniors and remaining recruits – more on that to follow.