Kaimon Rucker, North Carolina


University of North Carolina defensive lineman Kaimon Rucker, a senior majoring in psychology, for the second consecutive year has been named a Military Bowl STEM Scholar-Athlete presented by BuildSubmarines.com.

Rucker, who is from Hartwell, Georgia, aspires to become a sports psychologist. He has a 2.92 grade-point average.

“Sports psychologists as a vital part of every sports team,” Rucker said. “Mental health is more important now than ever before. In order to optimize player performance and to help athletes maintain a positive mindset consistently, sports psychologists can step in that gap to bridge together an athlete’s mental and physical. 

“Sports psychologists can be used as a ‘coach,’ off the field or court. They are often seen as people you see when you’re mentally weak, however, they’re actually used to strengthen the mind, establish themselves and create resources for athletes to use, and prioritize their health before an athlete’s sport.”

On the field this season, Rucker was fourth on the team with 56 tackles and led the Tar Heels with 14 tackles for loss, 8 ½ sacks and 12 quarterback hurries. He also is a talented singer and was one of four student-athletes to sing the national anthem prior to the 2022 NCAA Final Four.

“Kaimon is a wonderful person and student who is incredibly driven and passionate,” University of North Carolina academic counselor Kathy Zambrana said. “He has a keen understanding of the vital role of mental health, especially as it relates to athletics. Kaimon is a wonderful student with a strong work ethic. He strives for success in all that he does. It has been a joy to watch such a special person develop his academic interest as he pursues his degree.”

The Military Bowl and BuildSubmarines.com are proud to announce the members of the third annual Military Bowl STEM Scholar-Athlete Program, recognizing some of the brightest minds taking the football field in the ACC and the American Athletic Conference.

“The Military Bowl STEM Scholar-Athlete Program presented by BuildSubmarines.com recognizes some of the brightest minds taking the football field each weekend,” Military Bowl Foundation President & Executive Director Steve Beck said. “Together with BuildSubmarines.com, we commend these student-athletes for their ability to succeed on the field and in the classroom while managing a most challenging course load.”

 The Military Bowl STEM Scholar-Athlete Program honors one football player at each university that is a member of the ACC and the American Athletic Conference – the two conferences that are represented in the Military Bowl college football game. These players are studying STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) subjects and/or aspire to STEM careers.

“STEM education is the cornerstone of innovation, equipping the next generation with critical thinking skills to tackle global challenges,” said Kiley Wren, co-founder and co-chief executive at BlueForge Alliance, owners and operators of BuildSubmarines.com. “These courses prepare students for purposeful, high-demand career paths while fostering adaptability, collaboration, and technological literacy. At BlueForge Alliance, empowering individuals with a stable foundation of knowledge pairs directly into our mission of ensuring a resilient and adaptable skilled trades workforce ready to meet the demands of revitalizing our nation’s defense. We’re proud to join the Military Bowl in recognizing outstanding student athletes aiming to make an impact off the field while supporting their fellow students’ pursuits.”