A couple of items from the RailHawks home office before we return to our regularly scheduled HURRICANES LIVE BLOG.

First, although the RailHawks scarcely seem to need any backfield help, having conceded only one goal in their first three games, the team couldn’t pass up an impressive prospect out of UCLA by the name of Brad Rusin.

He hasn’t seen any first-team action yet, but the RailHawks’ press announcement indicates that he will travel with the team this weekend for two games against Portlandas good an indication as any of his value as a prospect.

To make room for Rusin, the team announced that Nate Norman, who has not seen action with the first team, has been released but will remain with the club in an “outreach capacity.”

Rusin, by the way, is listed at 6-foot-4. We’ve seen him in person, so we can attest that his hair is not being included in the measurement. (Press release after the jump.)

Also, the USL-1 team of the week is out, and midfielder Brian Plotkin, who scored the game’s only goal Sunday against Minnesota, and left back John Gilkerson, have been named.

CARY, N.C. – The Carolina RailHawks have signed defender Brad Rusin, pending USL-1 and USSF approval, the club announced Tuesday.

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound defender was a standout at UCLA from 2005-08. Rusin made 76 appearances during his career with the Bruins, scoring four goals and helping the team win two Pac-10 championships.

“Brad came on tryout with us and just stood out with his presence,” said RailHawks coach Martin Rennie. “He’s a young player with a lot of potential and we want to invest in him. We have two former Scottish international defenders – Paul Ritchie and Brian Irvine – and when I spoke to both of them, they thought they could really work with him and help him. He’s got all the attributes to be a top player, so we’re excited to have him.”

Last fall at UCLA, Rusin led a defense that had eight shutouts, and he scored a career-high three goals, including two game winners, and he had two assists. Rusin, the Bruins’ co-captain, was named All-Pac-10 first team after leading the Bruins’ defense to six consecutive shutouts and a 0.76 goals against average. He was also named to TopDrawerSoccer.com’s Team of the Season (second team).

“It’s great to be here. It’s a great team,”said Rusin, who also holds a U.S. Youth Soccer Association ‘D’ coaching license. “All the guys have been great. I’m one of the youngest guys, and it’s good to have a lot of veterans around to learn from.”

Rusin, a native of Holmes Beach, Fla., attended the IMG Soccer Academy in Brandenton, Fla., from 2002-05. His senior year, he was named the IMG Defensive Player of the Year.

In 2004, Rusin trained with England’s Bolton Wanderers, and last summer, he spent time with Norway’s FK Bodø/Glimt, IK Start and Alta IF while also playing for the PDL’s San Fernando Valley Quakes.

In order to make room for Rusin on the 26-man roster, midfielder Nate Norman has been released. However, Norman will remain with the club and serve in a community outreach capacity.

Rusin, who has been training with the RailHawks for two weeks, will join the team for its road trip to Portland this week. Carolina, off to its best start in club history (3-0-0), will face the Portland Timbers (0-1-0) on Thursday and Saturday at PGE Park. Both matches kick off at 10 p.m. EST and can be seen on USLLive.com.