December 12, 2008 - Continental Indoor Football League (CIFL) - Wheeling Wildcats
Wheeling, WV- The Wheeling Wildcats are proud to announce the team has signed former NFL and University of Pittsburgh standout quarterback Rod Rutherford for the 2009 season. Rutherford comes to the Wildcats from the Erie RiverRats of the AIFA where he was named to the AIFA All-Star team following the 2008 season. Rutherford (6'2"-230, Pitt) led the \'Rats to a 7-2 record in his nine regular-season starts, completing 51% of his passes for 1,650 yards and 25 touchdowns, and adding an additional 16 touchdowns rushing. He finished among the league leaders in total offense per game, total touchdowns, rushing yardage, and rushing touchdowns.
"We are so pleased to have the opportunity to sign a quarterback the caliber of Rod Rutherford to lead our franchise in 2009. Rod is a big time talent who will work very well with the other outstanding players we have under contract for this season, and will be a very exciting player for our fans to watch each week. I look forward to working with him again this season, and working toward our goal of bringing the 2009 CIFL Championship to Wheeling," commented Wildcats Head Coach Shawn Liotta.
Rod Rutherford enjoyed a stellar collegiate career at Pitt under Head Coach Walt Harris, where he started 26 games, completing 458 of 842 passes for 6,724 yards with 60 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. As one of the nation's most dangerous dual-threat quarterbacks, he added 880 yards on the ground with 14 rushing touchdowns. During his junior season, his first as a starter, Rutherford was voted to the All-Big East team, and led Pitt to a national ranking (18) and a win over Oregon State in the Insight.com Bowl. As a senior, he set all-time Pitt school records for passing yardage (3,679) and total offense yardage (3,829), tied Dan Marino for most touchdown passes in a season with 37, and led the Panthers to a postseason bowl appearance at the Continental Tire Bowl. For his efforts, Rutherford was named as a semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien Award honoring the best quarterbacks in the nation.
Rutherford brings an NFL Pedigree to the Wildcats as he has played for the Carolina Panthers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 2004 Rutherford signed as an undrafted free agent with the Carolina Panthers, where he spent two years on the roster. Rutherford then joined the Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad for their 2006 season, where he earned a Super Bowl ring. In 2007, Rutherford played with Hamburg in NFL Europe. Rutherford was one of the most highly-coveted athletes in the nation following his high school career at Perry Traditional Academy in Pittsburgh. He led his team to two City League Championships and two Class AAA State Championship games, winning one. His list of honors include Associated Press Pennsylvania High School Player of the Year, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Player of the Year, City League Player of the Year, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review/Fox Sports Pittsburgh Player of the Year, SuperPrep All-American, PrepStar Dream Team and All-American, and an invitation to the Big 33 Football Classic.
Rutherford is currently the Defensive Backs Coach at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA. A 2004 graduate of Pitt with a degree in Social Science, Rutherford returned to his Alma Mater for the 2007 season, serving as a quarterbacks coach for the Panthers. He also has served as a volunteer coach at the high school level, working with offensive coordinators at Perry in Pittsburgh and at Harding High School in North Carolina.
The Wheeling Wildcats are a professional indoor football located in Wheeling, WV, and will begin play in March of 2009 in the Continental Indoor Football League. For more information on the Wheeling Wildcats visit www.wheelingwildcatsfootball.com