"I am looking at Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame and Wisconsin," the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Ruckert said. "I'm just looking at who prepares me for the next level, and getting me in the best position after football."
Ruckert added he is eyeing a summer decision, with July a likely target. He made spring visits to each of his four finalists, and each stuck out for a particular reason.
One of the schools at the forefront of Ruckert's recruitment for the last nine months is Ohio State, and his relationship with the coaching staff is strong.
"They don't really talk about football," Ruckert said. "They talk about a lot of other things. When we talk, they ask me how my mom is doing, they ask me about my family. It is not always about football. It shows they care about me away from the game."
Ruckert did not have Notre Dame in his original top list, but the Irish moved into the picture during a March visit.
At The Opening Regional at the New York Jets' practice facility, Ruckert was able to speak with several Notre Dame commits, including Indianapolis Cathedral running back Markese Stepp and defensive linemen Jayson Ademilola and Justin Ademilola of Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep.
"Notre Dame is a great place. I really liked the campus there," he said. "They have a good tight end (history) and I like the coaching staff there."
Michigan is high on Ruckert's list, and his bond with assistant coach Jay Harbaugh is a key factor.
"I liked the feel of the program and the way they are doing things there," Rucker said. "I like coach Jay Harbaugh and I like the tradition of the school."
Ruckert also enjoys the creativity of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, with the trip to Italy the latest example of doing things differently than other programs.
"He always finds unique ways to do fun things," Ruckert said. "I like coach Harbaugh. He is always pushing to do more."
Meanwhile, Wisconsin is a finalist after Ruckert made a March visit and learned exactly what fellow Long Island standout Jack Coan, a quarterback signee in the 2017 class, saw in Madison.
"Wisconsin was an eye-opener when I went out there," Ruckert said. "I was able to look around and it is really nice, and I like the coaching staff there. It was a very nice school."