Four-star tight end Jeremy Ruckert has visited several of his favorite college programs and he’s nearing a commitment.
But first the 6-foot-5 ½, 230-pounder from Lindenhurst, N.Y., scheduled a visit to Notre Dame. Ruckert was in South Bend on Thursday.
“I know Ohio State, he's been there a million times, he's been to Michigan several times and I think he's going to Michigan this weekend with Notre Dame, but I'm not really sure. It's tough to keep track of his schedule,” said Lindenhurst High School head coach Nick Lombardo. “He's going to take one more visit to Ohio State and then I think he's done with his visits. I think he wanted to see Notre Dame and he wanted to see Wisconsin. Those are the two on his docket that he wanted to see for sure and then I think he's going to be ready to make a decision.”
Ruckert has offers from most of college football’s top programs.
It appears academics will play a major role in his college decision.
“I think it's a combination of a bunch of things,” Lombardo said. “Sitting with the family a number of times, it's got to be everything. It's got to be the academics, which when you look at the schools it's Notre Dame and Stanford, Ohio State, there's some good schools with good academics. That's important. Where he fits in with the school is important. You go to a school and you say, 'Hey, I could see myself here.' That's why he had to go to Notre Dame. You've got to see how you fit in. It's how you feel with the coaching staff and players. I think that's an important factor for any kid and family.”
One school will land a dynamic prospect with big play potential and the leadership qualities to match.
“He's been with us since his freshman year and he's everything you could want in a player,” Lombardo said. “His athletic ability is well documented. He's got great size, ability, strength, desire and his leadership skills, what he does in the off-season is what makes him special. Playing three sports he still manages to do his lifts and everything he needs to do to enhance his abilities and performance on the field. He's able to do that working around basketball, working around baseball. He's got the full package. He's a 94 student so he's got solid academics. He's got everything you want in a player.”
As a junior, Ruckert hauled in 58 passes for 807 yards and scored eight touchdowns. His role may change next fall, but Lombardo plans to find ways to get his star player the football.
“Our offense kind of depends on the quarterback,” Lombardo said. “When he was with us early we had a really dynamic quarterback who is up at Hobart (and Williams Smith Colleges) right now. He could really sling it. Last year we had more of a running quarterback so we have to get some more running options into our offensive attack. This year Jeremy is going to have to block.”
Lombardo expects Ruckert to continue to refine his skills, both physically and mentally.
“Besides the obvious maturation of a player, of course he's gotten bigger and has gotten stronger and all that but more importantly, it's his leadership skills,” Lombardo said. “He was a 13-year old freshman, he’s got a late birthday, and over the last two years he developed into a man. He's always wanted the ball but now he does things and the players follow him. He's become the consummate captain is what he's really become.”
Early in the recruiting process, Ruckert was being recruited as a linebacker.
“On defense, as an outside linebacker, he's awesome. He's our kicker and kicks extra points. He does it all,” Lombardo said. “He’s never said this because I don't think he's ever told anybody he didn't want to play defense, but I think he wants to play tight end. All the teams, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Ohio State, all the teams that are in his mirror, if you will, want him to play tight end.”
Scout.com ranks Ruckert as the 85th best player and 5th best tight end in the recruiting class of 2018.