Every day until fall camp begins for Ohio State, we will profile a different Buckeye football player. Today that player is senior tight end Jeremy Ruckert. Yesterday it was cornerback Jakailin Johnson. You can find all of the daily Scoop Profiles right here.
No. 88 | Tight End | 6-5 252 | Senior | Lindenhurst High School | Lindenhurst, New York
How’d He Get Here
When Jeremy Ruckert committed to Ohio State out of Lindenhurst High School in Lindenhurst, New York back in July of 2017, he was a composite 5-star prospect and the No. 1 tight end in the 2018 recruiting class. He had offers from just about every school in the nation and visited most of them unofficially in 2016. He saw places like Ohio State, Michigan, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, and more. Ruckert also took some unofficial visits during the 2016 college football season, including one to Ohio State where he watched the Buckeyes beat Michigan in double overtime. He also visited Penn State and saw their 24-21 win over OSU. Despite being the nation’s best tight end as a high schooler, Ruckert was mainly a wide receiver. It’s just that when you’re 6-foot-5 and 230-some pounds, the tight end writing is already on the wall. His inexperience at the position made his freshman year a time of learning. Ruckert played in 10 games, but caught just one pass for 13 yards as a true freshman. He found a much larger role in 2019, catching 14 passes for 142 and four touchdowns. Last year saw him snag 13 receptions for 151 yards and five touchdowns in just eight games. Through all of that time, he was sharing snaps with Luke Farrell. Farrell is now off to the NFL, which means Jeremy Ruckert is going to get as many snaps in 2021 as he can possibly stand.
Jeremy Ruckert chose to return for his senior season and part that was done with the understanding that the tight end would be more involved in the Ohio State passing game. Ruckert is the unquestioned leader of the tight end room for the Buckeyes and his example is one that can provide insight for each of his position-mates. He had to learn the position from the ground up, which is the same situation that guys like Cade Stover, Gee Scott, and Joe Royer have found themselves in, and all for different reasons.
What to Like
Jeremy Ruckert is 6-foot-5 and will play in the 240s this year after dropping some weight in order to be an even more effective pass catcher. He spent much of his career getting big enough to handle the blocking necessities, and now that he is there, he can afford to drop a few pounds in order to increase his quickness. He’s a big, long target who is able to get down the field and pose matchup issues down the seam. He’s also tough to track in crossing routes. Ruckert also has great hands, showcasing one-hand stabs several times a year. But he’s also a very good blocker and has made strides there every single year. He is no longer just a “pass-catching tight end.” Ruckert is a complete tight end who can do whatever the position requires — and more.
What’s the Ceiling This Year?
The ceiling for Jeremy Ruckert is an All-American season this year as a senior. This would also involve him likely setting single-season marks for an Ohio State tight end in receptions, yardage, and touchdowns. Those numbers will be hard to reach — Billy Anders set OSU records with 55 receptions for 671 yards in 1966, but if we’re talking about what Ruckert could potentially do, then records need to be on the table. A more likely finish this year statistically is landing his receptions somewhere in the 30-40s for 400-500 yards.
Jeremy Ruckert could technically return for a fifth season after this year, but considering he is likely to be one of the top tight ends on the draft boards after this season, he’s probably outta here after 2021. It would be a surprise if he doesn’t have a long and productive career in the NFL. Ohio State always puts its starting tight ends in the NFL and Ruckert may be the most talented of them all.