Rumblings from Ohio State’s preseason football camp about the emergence of freshman tight end Jeremy Ruckert were confirmed Tuesday by acting coach Ryan Day.
“He is a talented young man,” Day said of Ruckert, who was a five-star prospect when he signed with OSU out of Lindenhurst, New York. “We do have a little more depth at the position this year going into game one.”
The Buckeyes lost Marcus Baugh to the NFL but have starter Luke Farrell and last year’s backup, Rashod Berry, as well as Jake Hausmann, who nursed a hamstring pull through preseason. That allowed Ruckert more reps to prove himself.
“Luke’s done a good job, he’s the starter … and there’s a little more depth there, and that will give us a little more versatility in terms of our personnel groupings,” Day said on the Big Ten coaches teleconference. “And I think Jeremy will play early this season.”
Day said running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber, each with a 1,000-yard season (Weber in 2016, Dobbins last year), were strong in camp.
“And I kind of see it as a two-headed monster, kind of like it was last year,” Day said. “Obviously they both have to stay healthy. There’s going to be plenty of carries to go around throughout the year. And the young guys (freshmen Master Teague III and Brian Snead) are going to have to help them. We’re not just going to be able to get away with just two running backs for the season.”
Day said Weber in particular had a standout lead-up to the season, a year after a hamstring pull hampered him through the early going of the 2017 season, opening the way for Dobbins.
“I’m very impressed with the way Mike Weber practiced this summer,” Day said. “His approach has been excellent, and he needs to continue with that. But he’s really been practicing hard, finishing his runs, and I hope this translates into really high-end play for him, because he’s been doing the things we’ve been asking him to.”