Coach's Eyes: RB Matthew Tucker

In a feature we like to call Coach's Eyes, we learn about TCU commitments and prospects through the eyes of their high school football coaches. Today we talk with Chapel Hill's football coach Phil Castles about 2009 commitment, Matthew Tucker. If you don't have a BigPurpleNation.com premium membership you are missing out!

With TCU snatching up running back Waymon James, Frog fans often forget that Gary Patterson and crew snatched up another nice running back in 2009. Chapel Hill's 3A Offensive Player of the Year Matthew Tucker ran for 2,260 yards and 27 touchdowns in just nine regular season games. The senior was a workhorse for the Bulldogs averaging over 30 carries a game.

"Obviously if you carry the ball that much you are on everyone's radar screen and he knew that," stated Coach Phil Castles to BigPurpleNation.com. "He was ready for it and grew mentally stronger throughout the year. He was able to handle it."

A three-year letter-winner, Tucker ran for just over 6,000 yards and 69 touchdowns at Chapel Hill. If you would have asked the coaching staff three years ago if they could have predicted Tucker's success they would have not seen it coming.

"He has worked super hard. As a freshman he didn't start at running back in his class. This year was no different. He got to a point where he could move sideways and really improved his footwork," said Castles. "He's a quite leader and has been all year long. He has worked super hard. He has got better every year. This year was no different. He got to where he could move sideways and really improved his footwork."

Currently Tucker is Scout.com's 76th rated running back. He chose TCU over offers from LSU, Texas A&M, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska. While coaches are usually a little bias, Castles sees Tucker making a huge impact for the Frogs someday.

"I think he will make a huge impact at the next level. He will be a great player in college. Not just because he is physically gifted because he is, but also because he is a hard worker and a very coachable kid. With Matthew we could show him one play one time and he could run the play and run it right. He will do exactly what he is told do and is a hard worker. When you have the physical ability and have the mental capacity to pick things up quickly, you know that player is going to be an impact player."

Unlike most running back these days in the two back system, Tucker has the ability to beat you in multiple ways.

"He is a physical runner, so defenses gear up for him in the middle and get ready to be hit, because he'll deliver the lick. Then, when they are clogging the middle, Tucker will bounce it on the outside – he's an amazing burst runner too – and can take it to the house."

Just like Waymon James, the 2009 commit will not step foot on the TCU campus until the summer. It is very unlikely that the Chapel Hill's star will see the field this next season.

"I think the biggest part of making the transition is mental. Everyone is going to be big and fast," said Castles. "Everyone is going to have had success in high school. He has to be ready for that. Fortunately he has been able to handle adversity really well in his four years that he has been here. We discussed this off-season that you have to be ready for adversity and he was ready for it.


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