The Wisconsin Badgers got a major win on the #trail as they picked up a commitment from highly touted OT Nolan Rucci to cap off their offensive line recruiting in the 2021 class. Rucci announced his commitment on CBS Sports HQ and he tweeted this video out right afterwards.
Rucci, who is 6-foot-8 and 295 pounds, becomes the second 5-star offensive tackle in the last three years (Logan Brown) to commit to Wisconsin. The younger brother of Hayden Rucci, a redshirt freshman tight end, Rucci has been recruited since he was 14 years old by Joe Rudolph and the Badgers coaching staff. Wisconsin was the first school to offer Rucci, which no doubt benefited UW throughout this process.
In a high-profile recruitment, Wisconsin beat out nearly every major power in the country for Rucci’s services. Along with Wisconsin, Rucci had offers from: Alabama, Clemson, Penn State, Arizona State, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Maryland, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Stanford, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Washington, West Virginia and Texas A&M.
Rucci has prototypical size, if even a little tall for the position, at 6-foot-8, but it’s no secret Wisconsin is hunting height in their offensive line prospects. In 2020, Dylan Barrett and Tanor Bortolini are considered interior only at 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-4 respectively, with Ben Barten at 6-foot-7, Jack Nelson at 6-foot-7, and Trey Wedig at 6-foot-8. Logan Brown is 6-foot-7 and Bryce Benhart was recruited before going to Nebraska, who is between 6-foot-8 and 6-foot-9. In 2021, JP Benzschawel and Riley Mahlman are both listed at 6-foot-7 as well.
I hesitate when I say he has a slender build, but a lot of that has to do with him being so tall. He’s built well, without a lot of baby fat or sloppy weight. He looks like a power forward, and the athleticism along with that build should allow him to be a high upset projection at tackle and likely a sure fire NFL prospect. He’s primarily a run blocker in high school, which is obviously a non-negotiable skill set for Badgers offensive linemen.
Rucci will now be the seventh 4-star or higher rated offensive linemen to commit in the past three recruiting classes, which should help create needed depth along the offensive line, as well as raise the quality of the depth, which is also crucial if Wisconsin really wants to make a push at the College Football Playoff in the semi-near future.