Richard Tucker was ready to commit to Appalachian State. He was just waiting for the Mountaineers to offer and, then, when he knew that opportunity was about to come…he asked the staff to hang on. First, he had something he needed to do.
” When they called they said they were going to offer me and I told them I wanted to call my dad right quick,” Tucker recalls. “When I did he said that if this is what I want to do, that if I wanted to go ahead and commit, if that’s what I feel in my heart then he’s behind me.
”So, I called Coach (Scot) Sloan back and he got Coach (Justin) Watts on the phone and I committed on the spot.”
What App State gets in Tucker is a rock-solid inside receiver with exceptional results for the defending South Carolina 3A state champions at Chapman High School (Inman, SC), following an intense 29-27 title-game victory over four-time defending champion Dillon High School.
Tucker averaged nearly 17 yards per catch last season and averaged a touchdown every 4.5 receptions, on his way to being named 3A All-Region III and to the Herald-Journal/GoUpstate All-Area and All-Academic teams.
App State Wide Receiver Coach Justin Watts has seen things he values in Tucker’s game, and shared that with Richard during the recruiting process.
”What they liked about me is my route-running and they would probably use me as a slot receiver,” Tucker said. “I also told them I’m looking to graduate in December so I can early enroll (for spring semester), and they really like that, too.
”They said that really made them want to offer me, so I can come in right away and try to take a starting spot and make an impact on the team.”
Speaking of right away, what was it about App State that had Tucker ready to commit, almost as suddenly as the Mountaineers offered him?
”I’ve already been up there a couple of times and I really like the place,” Tucker says. “It’s beautiful and, in talking to the coaches, they seem really genuine in what they’re doing with the program, and I really like that.
”They said they’re built on a Christian foundation and that really appeals to me. So, that’s what I was thinking when they called and I just really felt like it was the right thing to do.
”They were excited, they said they had been thinking about me for a couple of weeks. They said they’d been going around to all these other camps and they just always seemed to come back to me.
”I really appreciate that from them, they seemed really happy for me to be joining App State.
”They’re really genuine, nice, good quality people and that was something Coach Sloan emphasized to me; he said I would come to App State and feel comfortable in the locker room. That it’s a family environment.”
Tucker’s recruitment had included discussion with a number of programs, including some ACC interest, but that process is now over, as he shares.
”I already told the coaches – I’m 100 percent committed. I told them that before the offered,” said Tucker. “They asked me what I would do if they offered and I said I’m as committed as they are. If they’re firmly committed until signing day then I’m a firm commit until then.
”That’s my plan, it doesn’t matter if Alabama or Clemson come knocking on my door, App State offered me first and had the guts to trust in my abilities to offer me. I really think highly of that, it goes a long way with me.
”So, as far as continued recruiting, that really won’t phase me because I’m 100 percent committed.”
Tucker is also committed to bringing his steadfast team-first approach to the program, both on game days and beyond.
”A guy that’s been working hard behind the scenes, constantly pushing to make himself better and make his teammates better,” Tucker said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s on the field or off the field and always being productive. Trying to strive for greatness.”
With recruiting now behind him Tucker is also firmly committed to improving and helping lead Chapman back to the state championship.
”I’ll hit the weight room heavy, I’m trying to keep gaining weight and get stronger. It’s going to be a high level of competition at the next level, the game is going to be faster,” Tucker says. “I just have to keep working on my craft and keep working hard.
”(Chapman Head Coach Mark Hodge) already holds us to a pretty high standard, he says there’s not going to be anything given to us. Everyone is going to try and pull us down, we’re going to have a target on our backs from every team we face.
”So, he says we’ve got to pick up the younger guys and help them out, and that we’re going to be the strength coming back.”
Chapman’s championship defense will begin at home on August 18th against Union County (SC) High School.
RICHARD TUCKER JUNIOR-SEASON HIGHLIGHTS