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TE Hayden Rucci will not return to the Badgers in 2024

The Badgers will be without one of their top tight ends from a season ago.

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Illinois Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Wisconsin Badgers got a decision from one of their veterans as tight end Hayden Rucci announced on Tuesday that he will forgo a sixth season and enter the 2024 NFL Draft.

Rucci has spent the last five seasons with the Badgers, having battled injuries, while primarily serving as a tough, physical blocker in both facets of the game.

Rucci mainly saw playing time over the past two seasons, where he posted 16 catches for 187 yards and one touchdown.

The tight end will play in the bowl game on January 1st against LSU before choosing to pursue his NFL Draft aspirations, he shared in his announcement Tuesday.

“After earning my degree and having discussions with my family, I have made the decision to pursue my childhood dream of playing in the NFL. I will be finishing this season competing with my teammates in our bowl game,” Rucci said.

“I have had the best 5 years in Madison making bonds and friendships that will last a lifetime. Thank you to Coach Chryst, Coach Turner, Coach Haering, Coach Letton, and Coach Fickell for all the opportunities that you have provided me throughout my career.”

With Rucci not returning for 2024, the Badgers’ top tight ends next season are currently Tucker Ashcraft, Riley Nowakowski, and transfer Jackson McGohan.