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Column: Jeremy Ruckert’s draft story is a great one

As a Jets and Buckeyes fan myself, I had the best draft experience. However, it turns out Jeremy Ruckert did, too.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 01 Rose Bowl Game - Ohio State v Utah Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Anytime a player gets drafted by the team they have been rooting for their entire life, it makes for a great story. However, I’m not sure if it’s just because I’m a Jets fan or because Jeremy Ruckert is such a great guy (probably a little bit of both), but his draft story is a little extra special.

Ruckert grew up in Lindenhurst, New York — 50 miles away from MetLife Stadium where he would attend Jets games as a kid. He made the choice to come to Ohio State because he knew what kind of players the program produces. He has most certainly become one of those players.

Penn State v Ohio State Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

The tight end is extremely selfless and willing to do whatever it takes to help his team win, even if it means sacrificing individual spotlight and gaudy stats. During his four years as a Buckeye, he only had 54 catches for 615 yards and 12 touchdowns. These numbers aren’t overly impressive. However, he helped his team succeed in so many different ways that these stats do not show.

Going to Ohio State certainly was risky for Ruckert, as he did not get as many receiving opportunities as he might have else where. However, when you’re in the same receiver room as Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba... do I need to say anymore? Ruckert’s blocking definitely made these receivers shine, even if he himself stayed in the dark.

Sometimes, Ruckert did step into the spotlight. While he only scored 12 touchdowns, a few of those were extremely impressive and important. The first that comes to mind is the dazzling one-handed grab in the end zone against Wisconsin in the 2019 Big Ten Championship Game.

Justin Fields connected with Ruckert once again in the 2020 College Football Playoff Semifinal against Clemson, where the TE caught the ball in a tight window to extend the Buckeyes’ lead 35-14 before the half.

It was quite heartwarming to see Ruckert make some of these catches, finally getting some recognition for the dirty work he does game in and game out. Now, he’ll have this opportunity with the New York Jets, as he will line up alongside fellow Buckeye Garrett Wilson (yay!) and former Bengal TE C.J. Uzomah to receive passes from Zach Wilson.

Ruckert has an incredible skillset that I’m praying the Jets utilize to his fullest potential. We will get to find out this fall. For now, let’s just enjoy how excited he is. His favorite team traded up to get him in the draft, and he got to celebrate with his entire family, who are also Jets fans. I think the look on his dad’s face says it all. Congratulations to Jeremy Ruckert— all of Buckeye nation is rooting for you (especially me)!