Ruffer is the 31st Irish player (37th selection) to earn first team designation, most recently bestowed upon current Seattle Seahawks TE John Carlson for the 2006 season. Carlson earned second-team honors as a graduate student in 2007.
Ruffer is the 55th academic All-American in Notre Dame's program history (37 first-team selections, 16 second-team, one third-team, and one honorable mention choice). The Irish trail only Nebraska's 98 for the top spot
Further, Notre Dame ranks second all-time with 218 Academic All-Americans (behind the Huskers 277) since the program's inception in 1952. 92 Notre Dame athletes have earned the Academic All-America distinction since 2000, the highest among any school in the nation.
Ruffer has accumulated a 3.90 GPA while studying economics.
Voting for the ESPN Academic All-America Team was conducted by members of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America Committee. To be eligible, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his/her current institution and be nominated by his/her sports information director.
Since the program's inception in 1952, CoSIDA has bestowed Academic All-America honors on more than 14,000 student-athletes in Divisions I, II, III and NAIA, covering all NCAA championship sports.
Former Irish center Tim Ruddy was twice honored with the CoSIDA first-team designation (1992-93) as was defensive tackle Greg Dingens (1984-85), free safety Joe Restic (1977-78), defensive tackle Greg Marx (1971-72), split end Tom Gatewood (1970-71). The school's only three-time recipient is halfback Joe Heap, who was so honored during the program's first three seasons (1952-53-54).
The current Irish roster has an additional tie to the honor: senior tight end Bobby Burger's father, Bob, earned the accolade in 1980.
Other notables include 1966 national champion linebacker Jim Lynch, 1970 signal-caller Joe Theismann, 1973 national champion tight end and NFL Hall of Famer Dave Casper, and 1977 national champion and three-time All-America selection Ken MacAfee.
Former kick coverage demon Mike Anello earned second-team honors in both 2008 and 2009, while defensive end extraordinaire Trevor Laws joined the aforementioned John Carlson with second-team honors in 2007.
2010 ESPN Academic All-America (selected by CoSIDA)The 2010 squad is paced by Penn State's three honorees while defending champion Alabama placed two athletes on the first-team. Four opponents from this year's Irish schedule were honored as well: Purdue's Kyle Adams; Stanford's Chase Beeler, Navy's John Dowd, and Army's Jordan Trimble.
- QB Greg McElroy: Alabama (Business Marketing)
- RB Kyle Minett: South Dakota State (Economics)
- RB Jacquise Terry: Kent State (Aeronautics)
- WR Joe Allaria: Southern Illinois (Marketing)
- WR Anthony Nelson: Massachusetts (Economics)
- WR Kealoha Pilares: Hawaii (Kinesiology, Recreation Science)
- TE Kyle Adams: Purdue (Management)
- OL Chase Beeler: Stanford (History)
- OL Patrick Conroy: Brown (Business Economics)
- OL John Dowd: U.S. Naval Academy (Mechanical Engineering)
- OL Barrett Jones: Alabama (Accounting)
- OL Stefen Wisniewski: Penn State (Secondary Education)
- K David Ruffer: Notre Dame (Economics)
- DL Sam Acho: Texas (Honors Business)
- DL Chance Coda: Southern Illinois (Accounting)
- DL Pete Massaro: Penn State (Finance)
- DL Brandon Wingeier: Dayton (Mechanical Engineering)
- LB Chris Colasanti: Penn State (Kinesiology, Pre-Medicine)
- LB Kyle Glazier: Western Illinois (Law Enforcement, Justice Administration)
- LB Michael Hodges: Texas A&M (Sports Management)
- DB Austin Cassidy: Nebraska (Psychology)
- DB A.J. Kaltenbach: Dayton (Business Marketing)
- DB Erik Stoll: Montana (Biology)
- DB Jordan Trimble: U.S. Military Academy (Systems Engineering)
- P Drew Butler: Georgia (Telecommunication Arts)