Jets ‘Fell in Love’ With 6-Foot-5 Soccer Phenom: Report

Jeremy Ruckert Jets

Getty New York Jets tight end Jeremy Ruckert posing for a photo at an event ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft.

The New York Jets earned the right to participate in the Senior Bowl for the first time in over 43 years this offseason.

After finishing with the second-worst record in the league last year, the Jets and Detroit Lions were selected as the two respective coaching staffs for the annual college all-star event.

That milestone on the NFL calendar presented a unique opportunity for two NFL teams to get a significant inside scoop over the other 30 teams in the league. That was one apparently the Jets took full advantage of.

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Love at First Sight

Connor Hughes of The Athletic revealed in a recent column that the Jets “fell in love” with Ohio State tight end Jeremy Ruckert during their time together at the Senior Bowl.

While Ruckert wasn’t fully available throughout the entire week due to a foot injury, there was enough of a love connection to seal the deal.

Interestingly ‘One Jets Drive’ which is a team version of HBO’s Hard Knocks released a highlight reel of clips that showed several coaches and general manager Joe Douglas being impressed by an unknown prospect down at the Senior Bowl.

Now knowing how the draft played out it is easy to see who they were talking about.

While this pick was a surprise to some, with the Jets having already invested over $45 million in free agency dollars to secure both CJ Uzomah and Tyler Conklin, it reinforces a message.

Fans are normally caught up in the moment, how can this draft class help out this team right now. However general managers are operating on a different timeline, not only are they figuring out the now, but they’re constantly thinking of the future.

While Ruckert may not be a starter in 2022, there is a strong expectation that he’ll eventually become the starter sooner rather than later.

Unique Background Story

One of the things people may not know about Ruckert is his prestigious background in soccer.

Most American football players that have a multi-sport history are normally rooted in basketball or track. Any player that has a soccer background is normally reserved for kickers or punters.

However, I learned during an exclusive interview with Dan Hope who covers Ohio State for Eleven Warriors that Ruckert was a very prominent soccer player and that actually translates to the football field:

“So you’d watch him catch passes and you’d think you could throw the ball to him a lot more in college. When I talked to his dad he told me that a lot of that comes from his soccer days. Ruckert grew up playing goalie and played club soccer. So when you see him leaping in the air and stretching his body that goes back to his days as a goalie leaping in the air trying to make a save. He will be able to go up and get it in the red zone with that ability. I think he really has some skills that they could use in the passing game. I think he can blossom in the NFL.”

NFL draft analyst Dane Brugler wrote about it in ‘The Beast’ that Ruckert is “an athletic big man who was a standout soccer goalie growing up, which helped develop his ball skills on the football field, showing the toughness and concentration to finish catches through contact.”

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