O.J. Tucker took a trip up to the Swamp on Thursday, and the three-star defensive back returned to Ocala impressed. The Forest High standout talked to FightinGators.com about his trip.
Florida left quite an impression on O.J. Tucker on Thursday.
"It was real good," said the 2017 three-star cornerback after his trip to the Swamp. "I really enjoyed it. [Gators head] Coach Jim McElwain talked to me for a while. We were just talking about the indoor facility, and how nice it was. He was also just talking to me about team building and to make sure I made my way back up."
Tucker is actually already planning his return trip. The Forest High School standout talked to new Florida assistant, defensive back coach Torrian Gray, who told Tucker, the staff want to see him come to camp in the summer.
"He [Coach Gray] told me that he wanted me to come up to camp this summer, so he can see my 40, my football skills and everything."
Although Gray is a new coach in Gainesville, his reputation is far reaching among the recruits in Florida.
"He seemed like a really good coach," said Tucker. "When they were doing a little DB work, he seemed real good, and I know he really knows what he is talking about and knows the DBs and everything. He coached at Virginia Tech for, I think he said, 10 years, so he's coached a lot of DBs. He put a lot of them in the NFL."
Tucker understands that Gray is not the only one that has the reputation of helping players play on Sundays. The Ocala native has followed the Gators program for years and seen several of their players go on to play at the next level.
"It was would mean a lot [to get an offer from Florida]" he said. "Growing up right up the road, basically, watching them over time, I remember all the big time players like Louis Murphy
, Percy Harvin
, Chris Rainey
and Jeff Demps
... all the old players like that. [Florida] thats my dream offer."
So you can bet that Tucker will be grinding and getting ready for the Florida camp this summer.
"I want to show Coach Gray and everyone that I want to improve on my ball skills and that I'm faster. I've mainly been working on my craft and my speed."
Florida is not the only school showing him interest. Tucker has picked up offers from Florida A&M, Massachusetts, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Troy, UCF and Akron. He is also hearing from South Carolina and Kentucky.
"I actually talked to South Carolina today [Thursday]," he said. "Coach Mike Peterson said he likes my tape and everything, and he is going to check back with me before this weekend is over."
As the offers and the attention roll in for Tucker, his drive and determination only grows.
"It feels really good," said Tucker. "Ive been working hard for it. It just feels really good. Ocala isn't a big place and to be noticed like that it made me feel real good, like I put Ocala on the map and that everyone behind me will get some recognition as well."