Leading into every draft, the question is, “Who’s the sleeper of this class?” Who will be the next Superstar that gets drafted late or even goes undrafted? Who is the next Tom Brady, the next Victor Cruz, the next Antonio Gates? Well, I am answering that question for the world today! The answer is former University of Maryland guard/ UTEP Miner 6’6″ 225lb. WR Cliff Tucker . You may remember him as the 4 year guard that helped Maryland win an ACC Regular Season title and is famous for hitting the game winning shot vs Georgia Tech at Comcast Center Now, while watching the video if you pay attention closely you can see he is destined for football greatness! Let me breakdown the play in football terms. He set his route up perfectly by stepping towards half court taking the attention off him, immediately gaining position and making himself available for the pass (that he caught cleanly with 2 hands). After hitting the shot, notice how he runs what I unofficially clocked as a 4.5 40, out runninng all of his teammates. He broke off into a curl pattern at full speed and broke at least 5 tackles before being mauled by his team in joy of the victory!
Tucker’s basketball background isn’t the only reason I am comparing him to Gates. In high school while attending Chapin High (El Paso,TX) he was the 2007 EP Gridiron MVP In this video you can see how quick, agile and skilled Tucker is in the open field. To be 6’6″ and move like that, it’s a big plus. In his senior year, Tucker tallied up 939 receiving yards with 19 touchdowns earning him All City, All District and All State (Texas) honors. At UTEP, Tucker had 3 receptions for 29 yards which tells me they should have ran that play more often. I had the pleasure of interviewing Cliff (who is a DIE HARD Redskins fan) about his future plans and current Redskins news and the contents are below:
Me: After finishing up your basketball career at Maryland, what made you decide to pursue football?
Tucker: Due to my career at Maryland and my numbers, being drafted to the NBA was not possible. I would have had to be picked up as a free agent by playing summer league ball or working out for a team. However due to the NBA lockout none of this would be possible. I have always loved the game of football and was really good at it in high school so I decided to go back to football instead of playing overseas.
Me: What schools offered you football scholarships after your All State Senior year in High School?
Tucker: I don’t remember exactly due to me knowing I was going to play basketball in college. However Nebraska and Utep both told me I could play football and basketball at their schools. I also was offered by Missouri and was recruited by a lot of Big 12 schools.
Me: How do you feel joining UTEP’s Football team prepared you for the next level (NFL)?
Tucker: Although I did not have great stats I think Utep football prepared me for the NFL because most importantly it got me back into football. I played in every game so I played against some pretty good talent. I got back to learning how to run good routes, block, catch, and just get back into the football mentality. I also got hit again which toughened me up.
Me: What has been your training regiment to prepare for your Pro Day?
Tucker: To prepare for pro day I work out Monday-Friday in the mornings Mon wed and Fri we have speed days where we work on speed and lift weights. Tues and Fri we work on conditioning and weights. Also I am working with a track coach to help me with my running technique. On the weekends I play basketball just to stay in shape and get some good run in.
Me: How would you feel if you picked up your phone and it was Dan Snyder asking you to join the Redskins?
Tucker: If I got a call to come play for the Redskins I would be on the first flight out. I have always grew up being a redskins fan since my family is from the D.C area so it would be a dream come true.
Me: If you were asked to pick the Redskins Quarterback for next season, who would it be?
Tucker: I think the redskins should draft Robert Griffin next year to be there quarterback. I think he would do great there and he would bring a lot of fans and excitement.
Me: Who is your All Time favorite Washington Redskin player?
Tucker: Sean Taylor is my all-time favorite redskin. Loved his game.
Me: How can you help a NFL franchise?
Tucker: I can help a NFL franchise by bringing size and toughness at the wide receiver spot. I would do great in the red zone with my size being bigger than most corners. I also bring athleticism due to me being a basketball player.
Me: When? Where? What time is your NFL Pro Day?
Tucker: Pro day is March 7th at UTEP. Time has not be announced yet.
Washington is known for picking up local talent and being as though Tucker has strong roots in the DC area, I feel he will get a serious look from the local teams (Washington and Baltimore) and also from the Texas teams (Texans, Cowboys) that may know more about the football side of his career from high school and his time at UTEP. Tucker never had any serious injuries durning his career and not haven played football since 2007, his body is still fresh which gives him a health advantage over alot of athletes that have been getting beat up over the past few years. Big recievers have proven to be major assets to teams (Moss, Burress) and Tucker also has the size to possibly line up at Tight End like Antonio Gates. I project that Tucker will have a very successful NFL career for whichever franchise gives him a chance. Hopefully Washington is that place. I know Terp Nation would like to see that! Stay tuned for the Pro Day report. Thanks from Riggo’s Rag goes out to Cliff Tucker from taking the time to interview with me. We wish you all the success on your journey to greatness.