On Monday, Ohio State added another key piece to its highly ranked 2018 recruiting class. What will the Buckeyes’ latest commit – Jeremy Ruckert – bring to Columbus, on and off the field?
The country’s top-ranked tight end in 2018 has committed to Ohio State.
RELATED: Jeremy Ruckert commits to Ohio State
What is Ohio State getting with this big addition? Let’s take a look at the newest Buckeyes commit.
As a football player
Ohio State has not struggled to recruit tight ends in recent years, despite the perception. The Buckeyes signed Marcus Baugh in 2013, A.J. Alexander in 2015, and Kierre Hawkins, Jake Hausmann and Luke Farrell in 2016. All of those players were ranked within the Top 15 at the position.
Jeremy Ruckert is different. He’s more complete, more of a potential game-breaker at a position that has underperformed at Ohio State not because there’s a lack of a talent, but because it requires a special talent.
That is what Ruckert can be.
— Ronny Torres (@RonnyTorresSS) July 17, 2017
Just three times in the last five recruiting cycles has a tight end earned a 247Sports composite 5-star status, but that’s something Ruckert is on his way to doing. He’s already been tabbed a 5-star prospect by 247Sports.com and Scout.com, and it’s just a matter of time until Rivals.com and ESPN.com follow suit.
He’s almost 6-foot-6 and weighs about 240 pounds. He runs like a wide receiver and catches nearly everything thrown his way — the easy ones and the difficult ones. He blocks well, too, but will have to keep improving at because he wants to be a well-rounded, complete tight end.
“I’m here and I want to work to be the best tight end the country,” Ruckert told Land of 10 at The Opening in Oregon in early July. “I have that ranking on two websites — but ESPN has me at No. 3. I am really here just trying to learn and get better.”
Ruckert told Bud Elliott of SBNation.com that he tries to model his game after New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski.
“Not only can he make circus catches and run a route and run by people, but he can really stick his nose in the ground and pancake people and run over people,” Ruckert said. “So, I mean, modeling him on the field, you can’t get any better than that.”
Jeremy Ruckert’s role in 2018 recruiting class
Ruckert has been the tight end Urban Meyer has coveted for 2018, and landing him fills a major hole in Ohio State’s upcoming class. Ruckert’s pledge brings the Buckeyes back to the No. 1 spot nationally, once again leap-frogging the Miami Hurricanes, who they’ve jostled with for that spot over the last month.
While wide receivers such as Kamryn Babb and L’Christian Smith continue to hold off on issuing a commitment, landing Ruckert gives Meyer and offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson a chance to take a breath and reassess the landscape of the offense. He provides a true pass-catching option at the game’s most difficult position to cover.
Ruckert joins offensive tackle Matthew Jones as the second Ohio State commit from New York in the 2018 class. He is the 11th member of the Buckeyes’ class ranked in the 247Sports composite top 100.
The off-field intangible stuff
If there’s one area where Ruckert might surprise people, this could be it. Despite having a high-profile recruitment, Ruckert never let his process turn into a circus. Despite still being 16 years old (he turns 17 in August), Ruckert’s maturity is one of his strongest assets.
“My first college, or recruiting conversation, I was 14 years old and a freshman when Michigan came into the school,” Ruckert said in Oregon. “Thinking about it now, I’m 16 and I’m going to be a senior. It’s been almost three years and it feels like it’s been 10 years.”
Ruckert’s goal is to work at his game and to represent himself and the people around him to the best of his ability. Nothing else.
“People say you ‘shouldn’t care what people think about you,’ but I do,” he said. “I care what everyone thinks about me. I’m here trying to represent myself, my family’s name, my island and my team. It’s not about me.”
That’s the type of young man Ohio State added to its recruiting class on Monday afternoon.