Delaware (Ohio) Hayes four-star linebacker Ethan Tucky has shown on the field why he will be one of the most coveted in-state prospects of the 2016 class. At the OHSAA State Track and Field Meet, he flashed the speed that helped him land a BCS offer as a high school sophomore.
Tucky finished 13th in the Division I 100-meter dash but crossed the line in 10.90 seconds, four hundredths of a second from qualifying for the final. That time would have placed him on the podium had he been competing in Division II or Division III. It wasn't even his best time of the year, having run a 10.86-second 100 earlier this spring.
Right now, Tucky holds offers from Boston College, Eastern Michigan and Toledo. The offer from an ACC program after just two years definitely resonated with Tucky, who pointed to Cincinnati native Luke Kuechly as an example of what the Eagles have been able to produce at linebacker.
"It was crazy, just being a sophomore," Tucky said of the offer from Boston College. "I've only had two years of high school and to be offered by a BCS school, it was beyond belief for me. My whole athletic career right now is just a dream. It's just amazing."
While he's proud of those offers to date, the rising junior has his eye on several big-name programs. He's already camped at Michigan State (June 1) and Notre Dame (June 9) this month and will also be at Illinois (June 13), Wisconsin (June 15) and Ohio State (June 21) in the coming weeks.
Living just 30 minutes from the Ohio State campus, Tucky admitted that he grew up an Ohio State fan. He's trying not to let that bias creep into his evaluation of each school in the recruiting process, but the Buckeyes are entrenched among the top schools in his list.
"I grew up in Ohio," he said. "With the recruiting process, I am trying not to be biased. But they are a great school, though. They are definitely up in my top three right now."
Those other two spots belong to Michigan State and Notre Dame, and he was quick to add that the list is not in any order.
So what does he like about each school? He broke down where he stands with the Buckeyes, Spartans and Irish to BuckeyeSports.com.
Michigan State: "The linebacker coach, I love him – Mike Tressel," Tucky said. "He's been actively recruiting me the best he can under the rules. I was there at a camp on June 1. He said he loved what he saw. I did not play much outside linebacker last year in a game. He said he wants to watch me play there in the fall and see me in a game environment as a linebacker."
Notre Dame: "Tradition," he said. "I'm a Catholic and it's a great Catholic institution. It's an amazing education and all that, and just the football tradition. I just love it."
Ohio State: "I love the energy that Ohio State has," he said. "I went up for a practice a month or two ago. They were going hard at it. Just the coaching staff and the players and also the facilities are amazing – weight room, locker room and the indoor field and turf outdoor fields, and also Ohio State's history and tradition and all that stuff. It's a great school."
Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell has been monitoring Tucky, and the in-state prospect put on a show for the linebackers coach at a track meet earlier this spring.
"Coach Fickell has been really active," he said. "He's been the main guy and (director of high school relations) Greg Gillum, too. Fickell came out just to watch one of my track meets a month or two ago. It was nice to see the interest is there, coming out and watching me run. I broke the school record in the 200-meter dash (21.88 seconds) that day, so he picked a nice day to come out."
With two years left in his high school career, Tucky will finally get a chance to play the position he's projected to play in college – outside linebacker. He previously played defensive end, but the arrival of new head coach Mike Golden has brought about a change to a 3-4 defense, giving Tucky a chance to slide to outside linebacker.
His only instruction at the position thus far has come at camps, but Tucky is eager to show what he can do in a role that will involve a lot of blitzing. Currently measuring 6-2 and 210 pounds after losing five pounds during track season, Tucky hopes to be back up to 220 come football season.
"I played a lot of defensive end last year, but I'm not big enough to be a defensive end at a D-I level," he said. "I think I will be a great fit for outside linebacker."