If you’ve been following Ohio State recruiting for the last year and a half, Jeremy Ruckert’s name has popped up. The talented and freakishly athletic New York tight end has been Urban Meyer’s top target at the position since offering last May. Ten visits (either to Ohio State or from the coaching staff) later, and Ruckert is officially a Buckeye, as he announced his pledge on twitter, ending months of speculation about his final landing spot.
Ruckert had been thought of as a heavy Buckeye lean since his visit to Columbus in late November (the spot was good), and despite a strong push from Michigan and Notre Dame, Ohio State was ultimately able to hold on to the large lead they had built, due in large part to the hiring of Kevin Wilson. Wilson knows how to utilize and coach tight ends as well as anyone in the country, and the chance to play for him, and compete for national championships, was just too much for Ruckert to pass up on.
So what does the nation’s top tight end, and 11th best player (according to 247sports) bring to Ohio State? Well, he may change Ohio State’s whole reputation.
ON THE FIELD
As blue chip prospects go, Jeremy Ruckert had somewhat flown under the radar up until late-June in his recruitment. He holds 30 offers from some of the nation’s elite programs, but it wasn’t until Nike’s The Opening event two weeks ago that the recruiting world was truly introduced to Jeremy Ruckert. Ruckert put on a show, both in drills and in 7-on-7 for team Alpha Menace. He was named 1st team offense following the conclusion of The Opening, along with fellow Buckeye commit Jaelen Gill. Catches like this one are a big cause for Ruckert gaining his fifth star in the newest 247sports player rankings.
Ruckert’s newfound attention has been well-deserved for a while. He’s been the top tight end in the 2018 class for months now, and it’s great to see him finally getting recognized. He’s the complete package as a tight end, and plays a very similar game to former four-time NFL pro-bowler and all-pro Jeremy Shockey. He has the athleticism of a wide receiver, despite his larger frame (6’6, 240 lbs), and is a matchup nightmare for corners and linebackers alike. He plays almost exclusively as a wide receiver for his high school, and is the first tight end recruit we’ve seen under Urban Meyer that could truly play the “Jordan Reed position” we saw him deploy at Florida.
Because of his time spent at receiver in high school, his need for development in his blocking skills could keep him off the field as a freshman (similarly to what we saw with Binjimin Victor or Austin Mack last season), but his strength and athleticism will likely make for an easy transition at the next level, especially with Kevin Wilson leading his development. Ohio State hasn’t seen this athletically gifted of a tight end since Dr. John Frank, who was arguably the best tight end in Buckeye history.
IN THE CLASS
Ruckert is the commitment No. 15 in Ohio State’s 2018 recruiting class, and the only tight end. A number of big targets for the future of the Buckeye passing game are still uncommitted (Kamryn Babb and L’Christian Smith being the main two), so getting quarterback Emory Jones his first true target is a big deal for Ohio State.
With this commitment, Ohio State has reclaimed the number one spot on 247sports from Miami, despite holding four less commitments that Mark Richt’s Hurricanes. As long as something catastrophic doesn’t happen, the Buckeyes will finish in the top five, and if everything goes according to plan, Urban Meyer could very possibly land the best class of all time, a record set by him back in 2010.
Ruckert will likely be the only tight end in the 2018 class for the Buckeyes. After not landing any last year, and bringing in three in 2016 (Luke Farrell, Jake Hausman, and Kierre Hawkins), Ohio State isn’t exactly in need of a bunch of tight ends, as they expect to lose only one, Marcus Baugh, following this season. 2019 could be another big class for tight ends, however, with Georgia product Ryland Goede and Oklahoma star Grayson Boomer both showing plenty of interest in Ohio State.