Tucker Is A True Student-Athlete

One of the trademarks of Mike Gundy's recruiting at Oklahoma State has been, whenever possible, to recruit players into the program who have experienced winning at the high school level. It's the old theory that winning breeds winning.

The Cowboys head coach and his defensive staff, including coordinator Glenn Spencer and graduate assistant Eric Henderson, hit a "home run" when they quickly contacted Kirk Tucker right after he de-committed from Stanford.

The Cowboys quickly had him interested, and Tucker was part of a program at Tucker (Ga.) High School that won a state championship, was the runner-up in his senior season and had a three-year record of 40 wins and just 4 losses. Yes, that is right: safety Kirk Tucker was an all-area performer for Tucker High School. Tucker from Tucker.

"The team out here is a very strong team, and that is what pulled me closer to Oklahoma State. They remind me of my teammates at Tucker and the brotherhood and how you can overcome adversity through anything," Tucker said. "That is what really pulled me closer to Oklahoma State, and they remind me of what it's like back home in Tucker, Georgia."

In addition to Stanford, the 6-2, 190-pound Tucker had scholarship offers from Ohio State, Northwestern, Ohio, Duke and Vanderbilt. Those are schools that, like Oklahoma State, are interested in recruiting really talented athletes and players, but in many cases are looking for good students who can handle the academics involved.

Oklahoma State in interested in that as well. Tucker has academics ingrained, as his family is serious about school, and he is taking two college Advanced Placement courses this semester as you read this.

"Academics will get you farther than football, and my dad has always stressed getting that degree," Tucker explained. "My father went through college and he was the first person in our family to get a master's degree and that set the tone, and I want to take the next step and get my doctorate and be an anesthesiologist.

"Academics in my family is really important."

Kirk Tucker may be too good to be true. He tackles with ferocity, he can pick off passes and has good ball skills. His football skills are really good, but so are his intangibles, like being involved in a program in his school system called Teacher Cadet.

"First we go through basic training on development of children, from infant all the way through the teenage years," Tucker said. "We go out into the community and we kind of take the spot for the teachers for the day, and we do this every day and we help kids with their homework and any problems they may have with reading, math, writing, anything. It is not just academics; we also talk life situations with them. We do that more with the older kids, like the kids in middle school. I enjoy that a lot. I love kids and they seem to love me back. I really like that class."

I've got a feeling that Gundy, Spencer, and the rest of the staff will enjoy coaching this young man. I have no doubt Cowboy fans are going to love the way he represents their university.

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