Hometown: Tucker, Georgia
High School: Tucker
Key Offers: Arkansas, Louisville, Ohio State, Stanford, Wisconsin
Kirk Tucker's ratings only partially reflect his offer list, as some big-time programs have scouted and offered Tucker well before the scouting services were able to adequately scout him. However, the ratings should catch up in the near future as up to three teams destined for the 2013 preseason top 10, Louisville, Ohio State and Stanford, have already offered. Though he is viewed as a linebacker by one service, his current size and skill set make that projection extremely unlikely. Instead, Tucker has the potential to develop into a high-end safety project from the perspective of the services as the evaluation period progresses.
Kirk Tucker is tough, instinctive football player who can be a stalwart run defender and has the athleticism to be a solid pass defender. Tucker's current defensive system positions him primarily as a run defender and short zone defender against the pass. In that role, Tucker exhibits exceptional tackling skills in both close-area attack situations and open-field situations. He has a great feel of when to attack a ball carrier to make a tackle. His high school defense is very aggressive, which puts him in a position to make many tackles for loss on blitzes. On those plays Tucker deftly redirects towards the ball once it declares and makes solid, run-through tackles, or at the very least, brings his arms to secure the tackle. Tucker's skills shine brightest in open-field situations in which a runner has forward momentum and a choice of cutting left or right. He shows discipline as he approaches ball carriers by breaking down and balancing his weight, which allows him to step to whichever side the runner declares and react if the runner initially fools him. That trait will allow him to limit missed tackles going forward, much like he rarely whiffs at the high-school level. The feel for the game that makes him excel as a tackler also helps him when he has to engage a blocker. He uses his hands well and has a sense of the pivotal point in time at which he must shed a blocker to close on the ball carrier and make the tackle.
Tucker looks to have the speed, hips and ball skills to be a good pass defender as well. Those skills aren't on display often on his video, probably more due to his value as a run defender than an inability to cover. However, going forward, pass defense – the ability to succeed in one-on-one as well as zone situations – will be an area of Tucker's game that will need to be proven over time once he arrives at his school of choice. His speed shows up on plays in which he is able to maintain angles and track down ball carriers. Additional evidence of Tucker's acumen as a pass defender shows up in the ball skills that he flashes on his video. In those few instances in which he is given an opportunity to make a play on the ball, Tucker looks natural and comfortable in judging the flight path and catching the ball.
Kirk Tucker can be a valuable addition to a college secondary based off of his tackling skills alone. If the tools that he flashes for pass coverage translate well as short zone, deep zone and man-to-man pass defense skills, Tucker will bring versatility that will tremendously bolster his value and allow him to potentially be an anchor for his defense, who not only prevents big plays but makes many of his own.
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