Today’s Topic: Where Has Jeremy Ruckert Improved the Most?
Tight end Jeremy Ruckert played in 12 games last year as a true freshman, but caught just one pass for 13 yards.
It also happened to be his first real experience as a tight end.
In high school, at 6-foot-5 and 230-odd pounds, Ruckert played receiver. He played it very well, but was always projected to play tight end in high school.
His freshman year was a progression that saw him eventually being brought in as the No. 2 tight end later in the season. He was used in the run game as a blocker, which is something that he didn’t have much experience with in high school.
Ruckert improved all through his freshman season, and put the extra work that he received in bowl camp to good use this spring.
With every tight end from last season returning, if Ruckert wants to increase his role, he will have to increase his skill set.
Based on his performance this spring, he did exactly that.
Where did he make the biggest strides?
Building confidence is an important factor for all players, but especially for those who find themselves matched up against linebackers and defensive linemen.
It’s a simple matter of physics.
“Just understand that when you’re an athletic player and you’re young and not as strong as you need to be, if you’re thinking about what to do, you’re not creating enough power to block,” Wilson explained. “So one of his ways of creating power since he’s a good athlete, it’s running, it’s movement. As he gains momentum, he’s a better blocker. But when you’re thinking, when you’re hesitant, you don’t gain momentum. When you’re not overpowering because you’re a young player and you played receiver, you’re not as strong as you need to be.”
And then, like it is for all positions, the more you know what you’re doing, the more confident you become, and the faster you can play. That speed also carries more power behind it.
Even last season that confidence began to come into play.
This spring, it was on full display.
“The more confident he became as a blocker, he runs off the ball more, so he creates more power,” Wilson said. “He plays with better leverage, so he’s a more competent blocker. He’s always been a good receiver, but he’s a more competent blocker and he’s doing a great job.”