Jeremy Ruckert, the talented tight end from Ohio State, has signed his rookie contract with the Jets after being taken in the third round (No. 101) in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Ruckert (6-5, 249) grew up on Long Island and became a Jets fan in the days when the team trained at Hofstra University in Hempstead, often making trips from Lindenhurst with his parents to the area around Weeb Ewbank Hall to watch practice.
"I think the culture, like Coach Saleh said, I think that the little time that I've been around you could tell the culture is spreading very well," Ruckert said at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center after the draft. "I felt it as soon as I was there for just a couple days I was there, I felt it. I got juiced up and I'm just so excited."
He had his best year with the Buckeyes in 2021. In 11 games, he had 26 receptions for 309 receiving yards where he was used most proficiently in the run game. Ohio State's offense featured the team's elite WRs including Garrett Wilson, whom the Jets took with the No. 10 overall selection. Overall, Ruckert had 54 catches, for 615 yards and 12 TDs.
"He's made big-time plays vs. big-time opponents," Jets head coach Robert Saleh said. "Dynamic athletic movement. This guy can do it. On the O-line, he likes sticking his face mask into a DE and grinding, trying to help his teammates. This guy is made of the right stuff. He's an absolute bulldog in the run game. Awesome."
Ruckert said he embraced the role the Buckeyes' asked of him, which mirrors the key elements in the wide-zone offense preached by Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur.
"I take pride in anything I do -- and anything I do, I do with full speed," Ruckert said. "Our strength coach at Ohio State told us some slowed down and some sped up into contact and that really hit home to me. So ever since that moment, I wanted to be that dominant player in the run game. I've got a long way to go, but as far as effort, as far as mentality, you're going to get my best every single play no matter what my job asks for."
Ruckert joins a tight ends room that now includes the free agency signings C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin, players general manager Joe Douglas has called "young veterans."
Ruckert was among the players who caught the attention of Jets coaches as they worked with the National team at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL, in early January.
"When he was given opportunities to make plays on the ball, he made plays," Jets TEs coach Ron Middleton, who was named head coach of the National team, said at the Senior Bowl. "He did not pass up a chance to knock the hell out of somebody. He likes contact and once he gets the ball in his hands, he still likes contact. He moves well, he has a burst after the catch. There's a lot of positives about that kid."