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Warwick’s Hayden Rucci ready to forge his own path with the Wisconsin Badgers

Hayden Rucci has the look.

He’s 6-foot-5, 225-pounds and chiseled.

He’s probably a good candidate for some future “Thor” movie.

But Chris Hemsworth can breathe easy because Rucci is no actor.

At least not yet.

What he is, after Wednesday, is a Wisconsin Badger football player.

And being able to say that marks the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for the former Warwick standout tight end.

“I’ve always had the ambition,” Rucci said. “I just never knew where I’d end up at.”

The ingredients for Rucci to reach the moment were always there.


Warwick's Hayden Rucci poses during a recent photo shoot at PennLive.
Warwick’s Hayden Rucci poses during a recent photo shoot at PennLive.

His father is former Penn State and New England Patriots offensive lineman Todd Rucci.

Football is in his genes.

But a visit to Michigan State following his sophomore season is what Hayden points to as the moment that fueled him to get to Wednesday.

The Spartans gave him his first scholarship offer.

“And I was just like, ‘Alright, this is real now,’” he said.

And, from that moment, he said he went “all out.”

“You can see it in my tape,” he said. “Just finishing my blocks and stuff. That was something I took pride in.”

While the blocking highlights are impressive, Rucci is no slouch when it comes to the receiving part of the game.

He caught 30 balls for the Warriors last season, averaging nearly 22 yards per reception.

All of that helped him build a long list of schools to choose from.

With his dad’s connection to the school, and his mother, Stacy Rucci, also being a Penn State grad, the Nittany Lions might’ve seemed like a no-brainer pick.

“I get that a lot, ‘How could you not think about going to PSU?’” he said smiling. “But I wanted to forge my own path.”

So, “On, Wisconsin!”

He’s probably going to be pretty good there, too.

And, if not, maybe he’ll give the “Thor” thing a shot.

Whatever the case, after Wednesday, Rucci’s future looks bright.

“It’s a pretty cool honor (to sign with Wisconsin),” he said. “Some legends like JJ Watt and Russell Wilson put on the same jersey that I’ll be wearing. So, it’s definitely a great honor. And, even if I don’t play a down, I know that being there is the spot for me with the academics and the people I’ll be surrounding myself with. too.”

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