Ruben Ibarra wasn't about to knock Mitch Daniels off the top of the Purdue front pages. Still, the junior college linebacker has something on his resume the Indiana governor and future Boilermaker president never will have -- being the best tackler for College of San Francisco, the undefeated national JUCO championship team.
The 6-2, 220-pound Ibarra has signed to play with the Boilers. He's eligible for the upcoming season and has two years of eligibility remaining.
“We're excited to have Ruben join our team,” coach Danny Hope said in a university release. “He's coming off an excellent season with a team that won the junior college national title. His experience provides depth at linebacker. We hope he can come in and compete for playing right away.”
Ibarra totaled 68 tackles last season, including 8.0 for loss and 4.0 sacks. He also recovered two fumbles and forced another. In seven games as a freshman he had 35 tackles, including 8.0 for loss and 4.5 sacks.
Ibarra is from Chicago and played high school ball at St. Patrick.
“He played in the Chicago Catholic League,” Hope said, “and we're always happy to get guys out of there.”
Purdue coaches have spent the last few months looking for an impact junior college player to boost its group of linebackers. In the spring the Boilers were without Dwayne Beckford because of suspension caused by his arrest for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, Nnamdi Ezenwa with a hand injury and Mike Lee with a concussion.
Beckford, who lost his scholarship in the spring semester because of the arrest, is in position to be reinstated for next season.
In the spring Purdue coaches switched former quarterback Sean Robinson to linebacker. Robinson played well enough to be a contributor this season. Robert Maci showed promise in the spring, as did Antwon Higgs and Joe Gilliam. Will Lucas is the most experienced linebacker. He had 82 tackles last season, 10 for loss.