A rare athlete given his size, 2016 Delaware (Ohio) Rutherford B. Hayes outside linebacker Ethan Tucky is coming off a big time sophomore season.
Despite his team finishing 5-5 in the fall, Tucky earned All-County defensive player of the year, was named First-Team All-Conference and Honorable Mention All-State, finishing with 44 tackles and 18.5 tackles for loss, primarily, playing out of position.
“I’m very happy with how I did,” Tucky said. “I moved to more of a defensive end this year almost cause my coach wanted to play outside linebacker/defensive end like (Robert) Mathis from the Colts position almost so I ended up playing more end than I thought but that’s ok.”
Instantly moved up to varsity to start his high school career, Tucky admits a lot of growth took place between year one and year two. Now up to 6-foot-3 and 215-pounds, Tucky boasts the fastest 60 meter sprint of any sophomore in the state of Ohio, recently competing in a track meet and finishing with a time of 7.09 seconds.
Tucky translated the growth in size and added athleticism into a much more productive sophomore experience on varsity.
“I was like 15 years old playing against 18 year olds so I was a little nervous,” Tucky said laughing. “I wasn’t as big as I am now. Like a 180-pound linebacker taking on a 250-pound lineman freshman year is a little scary.
“But then in my sophomore year I got my confidence up and my hustle to the ball, I don’t want to brag about myself but I think it was really outstanding compared to my freshman year.”
“It was a really enjoyable trip,” Tucky said. “We got up there around 10 and what I thought was kind of cool, normally when you go up for a football visit it’s on a game day so you don’t have a chance to really talk to the coaches very much.
“Going to the basketball game I was thinking maybe I could talk to the coaches a little bit more. So I got there and within the first five minutes I ran into Coach Hoke and we got a cup of coffee so I started talking to him, just small talk, it was really cool.
“It was good just to talk to the coaches like, we got in there and I talked to Hoke, I talked to the defensive coordinator, the linebacker coaches, they’re all there and there wasn’t a game so they just talk to you and I really liked that about the visit. Overall, there’s just a great coaching staff; a great experience.”
Tucky says the Wolverines are recruiting him as an outside linebacker, the SAM, a spot currently occupied by fellow Ohio native, Jake Ryan. Following the basketball game it was time for Tucky to check out Michigan Stadium before making his way back to Ohio.
“We got to go to the Big House, walk around, go on the field, go up in the suites and watch some highlights over the video board which was pretty cool,” Tucky said. “After that we were bussed back, talked to the coaches again and headed off from there.
“But it was a really good visit to get to know the coaches, the families were there too so, it was just a good family vibe. I really enjoyed it.”
Also on the trip with Tucky were his father and a couple of family friends. His father, specifically, enjoyed the off the field and post football presentation on display for prospective student-athletes.
“My dad really liked it,” Tucky said. “My dad really liked the coaching staff relationship where they just kind of came up and talked to you. They’re normal people, sometimes you can forget that because they’re football coaches and stuff, but you can just talk to them like normal guys.
“Probably the biggest thing that stood out for him was Michigan’s after football programs they have for the players, like the life after football. That really stood out to my dad and we had a talk about the alumni coming back and talk to current players about having a job because after football you have to have a job.”
Tucky plans to be back in Ann Arbor in June to compete in the Michigan football camp and “prove himself” in hopes of setting himself up for a scholarship offer.
In the immediate future, Tucky says he’ll visit Ohio State for a basketball game and Tennessee for their junior day on March 1.