Kicker Noah Ruggles to use extra year of eligibility to return to Ohio State football

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Kicker Noah Ruggles, who made an immediate impact out of the transfer portal for Ohio State last season, is returning to the Buckeyes as a "super senior."

A team spokesman confirmed Tuesday that Ruggles is expected to be back in 2022.

He had until Feb. 4 to opt out of the upcoming NFL draft and use his additional season of collegiate eligibility, which was given to all players as a result of the coronavirus pandemic-altered season in 2020.

A finalist for the Lou Groza Award as the top kicker in college football last fall, Ruggles was nearly perfect, making 20 of 21 field-goal attempts and all of his extra-point tries.

Ohio State Buckeyes place kicker Noah Ruggles (95) kicks the game-winning field goal during the fourth quarter of the Rose Bowl against the Utah Utes in Pasadena, Calif. on Jan. 1, 2022. The Buckeyes won 48-45.
Ohio State Buckeyes place kicker Noah Ruggles (95) kicks the game-winning field goal during the fourth quarter of the Rose Bowl against the Utah Utes in Pasadena, Calif. on Jan. 1, 2022. The Buckeyes won 48-45.

Entering the second-to-last weekend of the regular season, he had made 18 consecutive field goals, then the longest streak in the Bowl Subdivision.

His last kick might have been the biggest since joining the Buckeyes. In the Rose Bowl game on New Year's Day, he made a 19-yard field goal with nine seconds left, putting Ohio State ahead for a 48-45 victory over Utah.

Ruggles was often reliable after the offense stalled in the red zone. When Ohio State prevailed in narrow wins over Nebraska and Penn State late in the season, he made four field goals in each of the games.

Next season will be the sixth of Ruggles' college career. He spent most of it at North Carolina before joining the Buckeyes as a graduate transfer last summer.

Had he not returned, Jake Seibert would have been the team's only scholarship kicker. Seibert, a Cincinnati native who was a three-star recruit in the 2020 class, has been with the program for two seasons.

Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at jkaufman@dispatch.com or on Twitter @joeyrkaufman.

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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Noah Ruggles to kick for Ohio State football in 2022 season