A popular series from last draft cycle is returning yet again at Stampede Blue. Last offseason, I interviewed over 40 prospects that could eventually be fits for the Indianapolis Colts in the 2019 NFL Draft. As a result, we were able to find out a lot about two Colts who went on to eventually be drafted by the team in Marvell Tell III and Khari Willis. This year I hope to interview even more prospects so you all can get an inside look at these player’s accomplishments and mindsets going into this next draft.
Our next prospect interview is quarterback Broc Rutter from North Central. Rutter is one of the greatest quarterbacks in Division III history as he holds the all time Division III passing yards record and is coming off of a Championship victory. The Colts also talked to Rutter’s coaches after his historic Senior season. We had a great conversation about his mindset as a leader, his natural accuracy, and his chances as a QB from Division III.
6’2” 204 pounds
309 of 435 (71% completion percentage) for 4,591 yards passing and 56 touchdowns with only 5 interceptions.
Fit with the Colts:
The Colts are obviously still looking for their quarterback of the future with both Philip Rivers and Jacoby Brissett on one year contracts. A player that the Colts can take a flier on after the draft is Rutter. He comes from a very small school but he is one of the best D-III QB’s of all time and is insanely accurate. He may never amount to anything in the NFL but he is the type of player that you bring into training camp to see what he’s got. It wouldn’t hurt the team whatsoever to see if Rutter has what it takes to be on an NFL roster.
Only 1⃣ week remaining to vote for Broc Rutter in the Gagliardi Trophy fan vote! The clock is ticking, click on the link below to vote now! #WeAreNC @football_ncc— NCC Cardinals (@NCC_Athletics) December 2, 2019
: https://t.co/AR1joj461r pic.twitter.com/vkLQgyYbi8
Broc Rutter on ESPN... again. pic.twitter.com/ILE3Sr5F2A— Neuqua Valley Football (@NVHS_Football) December 1, 2019
On the play below, North Central’s QB Broc Rutter broke the D3 career passing yards record with 14,258 yards.— Boom, It’s Football! (@BoomItsFBALL) December 21, 2019
On the receiving side of this pass
North Central’s WR Andrew Kamienski finishes the season with 133 catches, 2,016 yds, 31 TDs!
ZH: You originally committed to Indiana State which is at the FCS level. When you decided to transfer, you transferred all the way down to the D-III level. What went into the decision to transfer all the way down to D-III?
BR: I committed to Indiana State like you said and went there for a season and after the year, our coach took a job at Western Kentucky and the whole staff broke apart. The main reason I went to Indiana State was because of the staff so when they were done, I knew I wanted to get out and just wasn’t so sure of where. I took some visits and all the places I had offers from, I was blocked from. I couldn’t go to them because they were in the Missouri Valley so I didn’t have any scholarships and I had known Coach Thorne for a long time.
I had a previous relationship with him and Coach Spencer the offensive coordinator there and it is in my hometown so I knew some guys on the team. They all had nothing but great things to say about the program and the culture and I just wanted to go somewhere where I had the chance to win. That’s what I’ve been about my whole life. I want to win and I had that opportunity so I jumped in and took it right away and never looked back.
ZH: One thing I love asking transfer quarterbacks is the leadership aspect. You have to come in right away and establish yourself as that guy even though you are the transfer player. How were you able to establish yourself in that locker room?
BR: It was kind of a weird situation man. They had a Freshman starter who was the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Illinois and just a really talented kid and a great football player. I knew coming in that I just had to be myself. Being the quarterback, you gotta be a leader and gotta be able to lead the room and get them on board with what you are doing. I stepped in there and my comfortability with the program really helped me get settled in really quick.
I was able to do a good job leading and getting guys to trust me. That’s the number one thing when coming in as a new guy, just gotta be able to win their trust over. I gotta give a ton of credit to the guys for inviting me in and letting me be a big part of it as a Freshman.
ZH: Let’s talk about that Freshman season. You came out of the gate firing with 38 touchdowns as a Freshman. What was the key to that immediate success?
BR: Obviously if you are gonna put up those numbers then you have to have really talented guys around you and I stepped into a very good situation. We had a very veteran experience offensive line, had some really solid receivers who had playing for a long time, and really my job was easy as a Freshman just getting the ball into those playmakers’ hands and let them do their work. The coaching staff did such a great job of getting me involved in the offense quickly and keeping me up to speed and really trusting me to be a part of the game plan. I was really confident going into that year as a result.
ZH: You had a bit of the round two bug in your college career, never getting past that round until this past season. You were able to do it though with a huge game against powerhouse Mount Union where you threw for a school record 522 yards and 5 touchdowns in the win. How did it feel to get over that hump and end your career on a Championship?
BR: It was really cool. Like you said, that group of Seniors and I lost in the second round over and over and over again. In the offseason we said hey that’s enough and something has gotta change if we wanted to get to the top. We always felt like we had really talented teams so we just kept saying that and working at it and we always talked about just dreaming big. What a better way to dream big than to get into round two against Mount Union who is the D-III perennial powerhouse who hadn’t lost in the second round since 1994 or something like that.
It was a great challenge for us and we loved it. It meant a lot to get past that second round not only for our group of Seniors but for the coaches who deserved and that game meant a ton for us. Going from there, winning the National Championship has been our goal since we all got there. To be able to accomplish that for Coach Jeff Thorne and his father who started this program in 2002 just meant everything to us.
ZH: I’ve seen some of your film actually—it’s insanely hard to get but I’ve seen some— and the biggest thing that stands out is your accuracy. You are just very naturally accurate and poised. Is that something that has just always been a big part of your game?
BR: My whole life I’ve wanted to be an accurate quarterback. I worked with Don Beebe who played in the NFL for a long time and growing up he said, “If you could be accurate, you can play at any level of football you want.” One of the biggest things for me in learning to be accurate was just being prepared and watching so much film that I knew what had a really good chance of happening every play and what the defense was gonna do and all that goes into being an accurate passer. You have to be confident with what you are gonna do, confident with your reads, and when you have all that, it’s really easy to know where to deliver the ball. When you can find your correct reads, it makes your job so much easier.
ZH: Going to that film study, I read that you had an office dedicated to you just so you could watch film at North Central. When you go in to watch film on an opposing team, what exactly are you looking for?
BR: One thing I really gained a knowledge of is how to break down film. Everyone watches film and says they love watching film but really how you watch film is really important to your success. I think I really just studied how our coaches went about studying and breaking down film and just wanted to emulate it. On a Monday or Tuesday early in the week, I would start with first downs and watch everything first down. I would go through that and see how teams play on that down. Teams usually played a little more conservative so I could get an idea for what they are doing and their base stuff.
Then you go by formation and see how they like to play certain formations so I break that down on a Tuesday usually. By Wednesday, you kind of know what you are trying to do against them and know what they do so you are just trying to find some tells on what gives away their coverages and how they are gonna try and disguise coverages. Everything in the game of football on defense is trying to confuse the quarterback so being prepared as possible is huge.
Thursdays were big because we would study third downs. Every Thursday I would spend a couple hours watching third downs short, medium, and long and how they like to attack that and really after that I had a good idea of what they were gonna do going into the game.
ZH: A major part of playing quarterback is understanding when to be aggressive vs when to be safe with the ball. How do you know when the time is to attack and when the time is to play it safe?
BR: Yeah there is a lot that goes into that like score of the game and time in the game but for me, it was real easy because we had such a good defense this year. We had playmakers all around and I just had to be smart and take care of the football. We did a really good job of gameplanning and implementing when we wanted to take our shots based on what coverages we wanted to exploit. I think there’s so much that goes into taking care of the football and it’s such a huge part of the game that you gotta understand when to take you shots and when you have to check it down. Our coach had a saying that all quarterbacks knew which was “You can’t go broke taking a profit, no matter how small the profit is.” If it’s going to be a too tight throw, take that check down and let your guys work.
ZH: Coming from D-III, you know how tough it is to make it in the NFL, let alone become a starter one day. How would you feel coming in and maybe being a practice squad guy or bouncing around even in the league?
BR: That would honestly be the dream and I would love it. That’s really all you could ask for as a D-III quarterback. Small school, odds are against you, and all I want is one chance and one opportunity and if you get that chance you gotta make the most of it whether it is practice squad, just a rookie camp, or anything. Any opportunity you get, you gotta go out there and show them what you are made of and whatever my role is I would take to the best of my ability and I think I would make teams happy.
ZH: Final question for you. What is my team getting overall if they draft Broc Rutter?
BR: You are getting a real high character guy who just loves the game of football. Loves everything about his game from watching football to studying football. You are also getting a leader who is going to step right into a locker room— I’m a young kid and I know that— but I’m going to lead because that is my natural ability. Most importantly, you are getting a winner. Whatever my role is on a team, I’m going to do it to the best of my ability to help a team win. You really need guys who understand how to win and instill that culture to the team. I feel like I’m a team guy who can lead and be high character on and off the field and teams would be very happy with that.