Demond Tucker Claims Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year

Iowa State defensive tackle Demond Tucker is happy with his new award, but he feels there is work still left to be done.

Demond Tucker is rarely satisfied.

Since the 6-foot, 296-pound explosive defensive tackle arrived in Ames in January he has talked of high expectations and distant goals. He doesn’t aim short, and it turns out that even those goals are unsatisfactory.

It’s not that Tucker isn’t thankful or happy with his newly claimed Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year award that was bestowed to him by the league coaches Wednesday. Rather, he just feels work is left to be done.

“I still feel like I want to do more,” Tucker said. “I want to bring more to this school because this is a great program. I’m going to play even better once we get everything back in line like it was and get our train moving with the new coach." 

Tucker claimed his award following a season in which he recorded 28 tackles, including 13 for a loss and six sacks. One year ago he was on the verge of signing with Iowa State out of Copiah Lincoln (MS) and now he has been deemed the top defensive addition in the Big 12.

“It’s amazing,” Tucker said. “I came here with not much, I just wanted to come here to play. I knew I had to work myself up to the point that I could play because I didn’t get the opportunity out of high school. When I got this shot it was just a blessing. I knew I was going to hit the ground running but I just feel like I need to do a little bit more to help our team for victory and just to be an outstanding player individually.”

There he is talking about doing more.

Tucker’s background might lead to those high expectations and constant new goals. With offers from the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac 12, Tucker ultimately chose Iowa State when schools hedged on his height.

Many felt at 6-foot — and that listed height might be generous — that Tucker was too short for the middle of the defensive line. Iowa State held firm that his motor and explosiveness would make up for any lack of height. 

“I think I’ve got a pretty good motor, but I want to have a motor just that won’t stop. That’s kind of how I was in my junior college,” Tucker said. “Once I get myself back to that point I think I’m going to be how I was back then and I can run and play a whole game without really getting tired or anything.”

So Tucker is happy, but he’s still aiming higher.

“I originally wanted to the Big 12 Player of the Year, that’s what I’m aiming for next year,” Tucker said. “I’m going to try and step it up more this offseason and get myself more prepared. I’m going to be ready next year.”

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