Since he woke up on Dec. 20, life has changed immeasurably for North Central College’s Broc Rutter.
That afternoon, the senior quarterback was awarded the Gagliardi Trophy, given to the best player in NCAA Division III football. Later that night, he led the Cardinals to their first national championship.
“It’s been so great for our program,” Rutter said. “It was long overdue. We played the right football at the right time.”
Things haven’t slowed down, either.
The Neuqua Valley graduate has been invited to participate in the Hula Bowl on Jan. 26 in Honolulu. He signed Thursday with an agent and moved to Colorado for three months of training to prepare for the NFL draft.
“It’s been a stressful, weird and amazing week,” Rutter said. “About a week after the season, I started getting in contact with (the Hula Bowl).
“I was getting contacted by some agents, and they think it’s a good opportunity. I’m thrilled. It’s new for everyone.”
These opportunities stem from Dec. 20. First, it was becoming the first player in program history to win the Gagliardi Trophy.
“The beauty of that award is it’s not just what you do on the field, it’s what you do off the field with community service,” NCC coach Jeff Thorne said. “That’s Broc.”
In the national title game, Rutter capped off a 41-14 victory over Wisconsin-Whitewater in style. He hit Andrew Kamienski for a 28-yard touchdown to seal the win.
The pass gave Rutter the Division III all-time record for passing yardage with 14,265.
“We were just trying to get a first down,” Thorne said. “He made eye contact with Andrew. They did that so much the past three years.
“To have it end that way and have that be the play that broke the record, you talk about a storybook. It’s pretty special.”
The Hula Bowl is back after a 12-year hiatus. It will be broadcast live at 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 26 by the CBS Sports Network.
“He has some interest from teams that play on Sundays,” NCC offensive coordinator Brad Spencer said of Rutter. “It’s a great honor, and not something that happens every day. He deserves a shot at it.
“We’re all excited to watch him play. He’ll represent North Central College really well. He’s just an outstanding young man and a talented football player.”
Spencer said NFL scouts started to notice Rutter after last season, but Rutter said he didn’t give it much thought until recently.
“I wanted to just go out and enjoy my senior year,” Rutter said. “I heard there may be some opportunities at the beginning of the season. Once we won the title, it was a reality.”
Now, Rutter’s life will be football for the next three months.
Rooming with former Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke, Rutter will train at Landow Performance in Denver while mixing in the trip to the Hula Bowl.
“I’m just excited to show what I can do against Division I players,” Rutter said. “You get more than just the (Hula Bowl). You get five practices there to show what you’re made of. It’s a great opportunity.
“You don’t get a lot of chances at this. This is a once in a lifetime thing that I’m going to attack with all that I have.”