There’s only been one player in the history of Ithaca College football who has caught more passes than graduate wide receiver Dan Ruffrage, but that could change Saturday.
Ruffrage has totaled 140 receptions in his career, which ranks second on the program’s all-time list. He trails Thomas Vossler ’11, who holds the Bombers’ record for catches with 144.
Vossler has been coaching Ruffrage this season as the team’s assistant coach and wide receivers coach.
Ruffrage said though he has not talked to Vossler about the record, their relationship is positive and supportive after playing with each other for three years.
“He’s pretty much like a brother to me,” Ruffrage said. “We had a blast playing together, and now he’s coaching me and we’re just working together.”
Vossler said if anyone were to break his record, he would want it to be Ruffrage. Though Vossler is on the sidelines during games instead of lining up next to Ruffrage, he said his relationship with Ruffrage has stayed genuine.
“Now and then you gotta get after him a little bit, but he’s a guy you don’t really need to coach a lot — he’s got a lot of natural ability,” Vossler said.
Ruffrage has also amassed 1,811 receiving yards in his career, which places him fourth in the South Hill squad’s record books. He said the key to his historical career was the opportunity to play in a lot of games as an underclassmen.
Ruffrage has caught 37 balls for 428 yards and three touchdowns this season. Two of his three scores have come on special teams, as his kick return and punt return are two of the team’s longest plays of the year.
Ruffrage went into Saturday’s game against the Bobcats ranked second in Division III in punt returns, averaging 28.7 yards, and third in kick returns with an average of 31.4 yards.
Senior cornerback Mike Conti said Ruffrage was the team’s most dynamic player.
“Without a doubt he’s our biggest playmaker,” Conti said. “When we need a big play, everybody looks to Ruff to come up big for us, whether it be on offense or on special teams.”
Ruffrage, who is 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, is a multi-talented wide receiver. He uses his quickness to run precise routes and is always able to elude the corners and safeties to
Senior cornerback Spence White said practicing with Ruffrage has improved everyone on the team.
“Everyone says he’s that one guy that likes to do it all,” White said. “He’s one of the best receivers in the league, so going against him in practice just makes ourselves better.”
Ruffrage will have this weekend’s game against Alfred University and the Cortaca Jug Game on Nov. 12 to continue his rise in the Bomber record books. But he said he has other goals in mind other than his personal success.
“I’ve really just been focusing on what I can do to help us become a better team,” he said. “Whatever I can do to help us be a better team and get wins — that’s what I’m focusing on.”