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Monday, January 30, 2023

North Central’s Rutter Signs with San Francisco 49ers

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Long an admirer of Kyle Shanahan, Broc Rutter has always watched the San Francisco 49ers with a sharply tuned eye.

“I think it’s obvious that Kyle Shanahan is probably the best coach in the game. He really understands what he’s doing,” Rutter said.

After leading North Central College to its first national championship last December, Rutter is primed to learn first hand from Shanahan and QB Jimmy Garoppolo.

Rutter, a Neuqua Valley alumnus, agreed to sign with the reigning NFC champions as an undrafted free agent shortly after the NFL Draft finished April 25.

“I fit in with the play-action game,” he said. “They love to mirror their run and pass game together and I’ve kind of done that my whole life. That’s a lot of what we did at North Central and back to my Neuqua days, that’s a lot of what we did.”

Cardinals’ assistant head coach and offensive coordinator Brad Spencer said several NFL teams started asking about Rutter during the 2018 season.

But it was the 49ers in Spencer’s estimation that stood far above the rest with how they went about familiarizing themselves with the 6-foot-2, 204-pound Rutter.

“Obviously their organization, history of their organization, their coaching staff and everybody involved – their scouts are first class,” Spencer said. “So I think for any rookie coming into that organization, it’s a great thing. They’ve been excited and on him and doing their homework on him for a long time.”

Warren Ball, Jr., a scouting assistant with the 49ers, spoke with Spencer at length about Rutter last fall.

According to Spencer, the 49ers requested additional film before last season began after asking for Rutter’s junior year film.

Rutter completed 71 percent of his passes for 4,591 yards and 56 touchdowns with just five interceptions in 2019.

Named the winner of the Gagliardi Trophy the day North Central beat Wisconsin-Whitewater in the 2019 Stagg Bowl, Rutter went out on top.

He concluded his career as Division III’s all-time leader in passing yards with 14,258.
Along the way, he profusely rewrote North Central’s all-time record book with 1,016 completions and 145 TD passes.

Numerous virtual film sessions with the Niners’ offensive coaches had him feeling quite comfortable with the possibility of going out to the Bay Area.

“I’ve always been intrigued by (Shanahan’s) system,” Rutter said. “It’s such a good system and it’s designed so well for quarterbacks to succeed. So paid attention to them for a while and then when I was out in Colorado training one of the quarterback coaches always put on San Fran film because he loved learning from it.”

Cardinals’ head coach Jeff Thorne said San Francisco’s staff broke down every single play of their postseason victories over Mount Union and Wisconsin-Whitewater with Rutter.

“Broc did what Broc needed to do,” Thorne said. “If you’ve ever spent time talking in depth with Broc about football, he just loves it. There’s nothing about the game he doesn’t love. He loves watching film. He loves talking the game, analyzing the game.”

Rutter has had to make consequential decisions before.
The choice to go to Indiana State and then return to Naperville and North Central after one semester laid the groundwork for his football journey.

A chance to pick his football destination for a third time was one he embraced.

“I had so many people throughout the process tell me how valuable it is if you’re a free agent – to be able to pick somewhere that you fit really well in their system,” he said.

“Obviously you want to hear your name called. But when I didn’t and I knew I was going to have the opportunity to go to San Fran, I really didn’t mind not having my name called. I was super excited.”

Blake Baumgartner
Blake Baumgartner
Raised in Naperville, Blake Baumgartner is a 2001 Naperville Central alumnus and a 2005 graduate of Michigan State's School of Journalism. Since March 2010, he has covered football, boys' basketball and baseball for both The Naperville Sun and Positively Naperville. Follow him on Twitter @BFBaumgartner.

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