Gabriel Rubio Building Bond with Hawkeyes

February 13, 2019

Written by Rob Howe

If you’re on social media and follow football recruiting, you see it. Prospects announce scholarship offers as they roll in. The more opportunities, the more street credibility is given.

St. Peters (MO) Lutheran High of St. Charles County sophomore Gabriel Rubio isn’t looking for recognition. Big or small, he’s appreciative of every college that wants him.

“I’m not collecting offers. I take every one of them seriously and try to do my homework on the team that’s offering. I’m in a great position because both my dad and my head coach have played in the NFL and can give me great insight throughout this process,” the defensive tackle told

His father, Angel Rubio, played defensive end at Southeast Missouri State and then for the Steelers, 49ers and Bengals. His head coach, Arlen Harris, played running back at the University of Virginia and then with the Rams, Lions and Falcons.

The duo is molding Gabriel Rubio into a menace in the middle of the defensive line. He already reports scholarship offers from Ball State, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisville, Minnesota, Nebraska and Ohio State. Others, like Notre Dame, are showing interest.

He’ll return to Iowa City this weekend for the third time in six months when he attends the Hawkeyes’ junior day event.

“I really want to strengthen my relationships with the coaching staff, especially the defensive coaches, and get feedback on how they play and where they see me fitting in. I’d also like to see the locker rooms and tour Iowa City,” he said.

Rubio (6-5, 280) watched Iowa roll over in-state foe Northern Iowa in September at Kinnick Stadium. He came back in December for an Outback Bowl practice, which is when assistant coach LeVar Woods let him know the Hawkeyes were offering a scholarship. Woods and assistant defensive line coach Kelvin Bell have been heading the program’s pursuit of the talented sophomore.

“I was able to get in front of coach Bell and shake his hand to pass the eye test,” he said. “I loved my visits there. The facility and weight room are impressive, but I what I really liked was spending time getting to know all of the coaches.”

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Strong relationships top Rubio’s list of desires in choosing a college program.

“I want my coaches to care as much about me as a person as they do as a player. I’m really looking for a team that is a family, where players root for each other to succeed and not point fingers if something is wrong. I believe on honor and integrity and want my coaches and teammates to expect that out of everyone,” he said.

Still a sophomore, campus visits serve an important function in Rubio’s recruitment. That’s the only time the NCAA allows him to speak with college coaches.

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“Coach Woods has been in contact with my head coach the whole time. I like him a lot and respect him,” Rubio said.

Woods and Lutheran coach Arlen Harris were teammates with the Lions in 2006.

Rubio likes how the Hawkeyes line up on defense. The alignment fits his strengths.

“I love Iowa’s defense. I really like four-man fronts and love that Iowa plays a pro-style defense. I’m a long-armed, inside player that thrives in one vs. ones. Four-man fronts create a lot of them for the defensive tackle. I think that I can come in and compete right away,” he said.

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Rubio hopes to have his college home figured out by the start of his senior season. A big part of the puzzle will be finding an academic fit.

Angel Rubio is a firefighter, following in the footsteps of his father. Gabriel is hoping to extend the legacy.

“I plan on being a firefighter paramedic after football. I’d like to study fire science, but I also like emergency medicine and pre-hospital care,” he said.

Here’s a look at Rubio’s sophomore highlights:

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