Coming out of high school as a five-star prospect, Ryan Day knew what he was getting when Jeremy Ruckert came to Columbus. The Ohio State tight end made the move from wide receiver in high school to become one of the elite tight ends in college football.

Ruckert is among those being watched early on as the 2021 season starts, and the scouts across the NFL will definately be keeping tabs.

During the two College Football Playoff games last season, Ruckert had a pair of touchdown catches in the semifinal against Clemson, and made a highlight-reel one-handed catch in the national title game against Alabama.

Ruckert isn’t about the personal accolades, however, but he is keenly aware of the weapon he provides the Buckeyes offense. Now a member of the John Mackey Award watch list for the country’s top tight end, he isn’t worrying about his stats.

“I’d rather put a big ring on my finger than have 20 touchdowns,” Ruckert said at Big Ten Media Days last month.

“I don’t have many catches, but when I do, something good usually happens,” Ruckert said. “I take pride in that, and that’s what I work for every single day. That’s why we do what we do. It’s the same thing in the blocking game, in the run game, the pass-protection game. Any single thing you do can affect your whole season. So, I play every play like it’s gonna be my last, like my season’s on the line — which it really is.”

With the need to break in a first-year quarterback in the Buckeyes offense, Ruckert’s team-first approach has made him a leader in the locker room.

Rest assured, the NFL is watching.

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