Former Boston College nose guard Mike Ruth was named as part of the 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Class in January, and he will be officially inducted during the 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner Dec. 5 at the New York Hilton Midtown. He will be honored tonight with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments, when the Eagles host Florida State at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
By Matt Fortuna, college football reporter for The All-American.
Ruth: Up Close
- Named a 1985 consensus First-Team All-American and a three-time All-East and All-ECAC selection.
- Claimed the 1985 Outland Trophy winner as the nation’s best interior lineman.
- Recorded 344 career tackles, including 29 sacks.
- Coached by Jack Bicknell.
- Becomes the seventh Eagle player to enter the Hall.
When Mike Ruth and his classmates arrived at the Heights in 1982 for their first taste of college, they were just hoping to get on television at some point in their careers. Boston College had not played in a bowl game in 39 years. Hardly any members of the Eagles’ freshman class had received offers from major programs, and the group was, as Ruth puts it, “a bunch of regular guys.”
Those regular guys turned out be overachievers with Ruth among the biggest of the bunch, and the former nose guard now enters the College Football Hall of Fame, capping his stellar career, which saw him win the Outland Trophy, become a consensus First-Team All-American and serve as a captain during his senior year.
BC made bowl games in three of Ruth’s four years in Chestnut Hill, including the Cotton Bowl after the 1984 season. The Eagles followed a stretch of three-losing-seasons-in-four-years just before Ruth’s arrival with a cumulative 31-16-1 mark during his time on campus. In addition to Ruth being named the nation’s top interior lineman, quarterback Doug Flutie — the only other BC player from that era to make the Hall — won the Heisman Trophy.
Flutie, of course, all but cemented that Heisman campaign with his Hail Mary against Miami in 1984. And Ruth does not hesitate to call that contest the most memorable moment of his career, even if that 47-45 “defensive struggle” featured a couple of personal miscues that he jokes still haunt him to this day.
“I looked at their roster a while ago and boy, they had some talent,” Ruth said of the Hurricanes. “And to be involved in a game like that, that was like the cherry on top.”
Perhaps most impressively, 15 players from that BC team ended up getting drafted — a far cry from the expectations surrounding that group when coming out of high school.
“This is going to sound so corny,” said Ruth, who was drafted by the Patriots in the second round in 1986, “But we loved football. And we loved playing. We thought it was such a privilege.
“It’s like everything a kid ever hopes for coming out of high school and when they get to play in college. It’s like a Walt Disney movie, really.”
Ruth played briefly in New England and in Barcelona for the World League of American Football before returning to the area. He worked in insurance, earned a master’s degree from Harvard and worked in consulting.
Ruth has spent the past five years at Everett (Mass.) High, coaching football and working with troubled youth, a rewarding role for him as he gets to play a hand in the development of kids who have already overcome heavy life challenges.
“That’s something real special,” Ruth said of his current work. “It’s not like when I was in school and the kid didn’t do his homework. The kids, how they do it, I have no idea.”