It was probably inevitable, but Dec. 2 O.J. Tucker (Vanguard/Ocala, Fla.) decommitted from Georgia Tech and decided to hone in on his other options. The Yellow Jackets remain in play for the 6-foot, 190-pounder, but Tucker said he’s fairly open heading into the New Year.
“I chose to decommit because of the number of corners they have committed and in the program. I’m still taking an official to Georgia Tech Jan. 28, and the coaches text me and they stay in contact. They were in the school to see me and everything,” Tucker said. “But Tech is the same as everyone else right now. I’m going to take my time, see how these home visits go, how these official visits go and then go from there.”
The two other primary players at this stage are Maryland and Wake Forest. Tucker said Wake defensive coordinator Mike Elko conducted an in-home Dec. 1, while the Terps’ staff is in constant contact and will be sending an assistant through Vanguard in short order.
“With Wake Forest, I’m going up there Jan. 20 for my official. I like the defensive coordinator and how he came to see me. They’re really about family there, and that’s what I’m looking in in a program. And [Elko] feels like their defense is set up to develop corners and really help me, so that’s big. My mom also likes Wake Forest a lot too,” Tucker said. “And with Maryland, I’m going up there for my official Jan. 13. I talk to all the coaches there. Like, I’ve talked to like every coach on the staff. They show me a lot of love and really want me there.”
Tucker said he’s mainly in communication with UMD defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim.
“Coach Rahim and I have a great relationship. I really like him,” Tucker said. “He told me nothing is going to be handed to me, but I can come in and compete there right away, which I like. And I know Coach Durkin is a real good coach and he’s a defensive-minded coach, so that’s good. He’s building a great program there.”
The Florida corner went on to laud Maryland’s conference affiliation. He said the chance to compete in the Big Ten appeals.
“They get to play against Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska. That’s some great competition,” Tucker said. “I know I’ll be tested in [the Big Ten], and that’s what I’m looking for.”
In addition to the above programs, Tucker said he’s started to hear from Iowa State and UCF. Tucker said he might be able to fit in a mid-week official visit or two depending if those schools up the pursuit, but that’s not a definite at this stage.
“I’d say Maryland and Wake Forest are running side by side right now,” Tucker said. “I can’t really say if one has the edge yet, though. I’ll know when I take the officials; I’ll know after that. They’re both kind of even right now.”
Tucker said all of his looks are for cornerback. He could project as a safety in college, but the Vanguard recruit said he prefers to play corner.