For over a year Delaware (OH) Hayes outside linebacker Ethan Tucky has been waiting for a scholarship offer from the University of Wisconsin. After one Badgers coaching staff failed to deliver, Tucky finally got the nod approval from the next one.
“It’s been quite a while,” Tucky told BadgerNation. “It’s absolutely huge. I absolutely love their defensive scheme. I am happy that they kept the same one from the previous staff.”
Tucky (6-2, 215) started receiving scholarship interest from former Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen and his staff last spring, even making the trip up to Madison to attend a high school summer camp. After the coaching change and not having received much interest from the Pittsburgh coaches coming to UW, Tucky didn’t believe a Wisconsin scholarship offer would be a part of his process.
“They came to my school, introduced themselves and said they would call back in two weeks,” said Tucky. “They came back the very next day and they offered. I was like ‘wow.’ I was in shock almost. I think that the coach asked me if I was OK. You put in all that effort and hard work and in that moment it paid off.”
Strangely enough, Tucky gives an assist in his recruitment to Wisconsin basketball coach Bo Ryan. Ryan has been at Hayes High School a handful of times in the last three months with the Badgers recruiting 2015 signee Khalil Iverson. On one of Ryan’s recent visits, Tucky took the opportunity to introduce himself.
“I talked to him a little bit and he asked me if I played any sports,” Tucky said of Ryan. “He asked me if I played any sports. When I said football, he said he knew Coach Rudolph and he would get a hold of him. When Coach Rudolph talked to me, he mentioned how (Ryan) met me when he was down at Hayes and that they were still interested in me. I was real happy to hear about that.”
Having double-digit scholarship offers, Tucky – rated a three-star prospect and the No.45 outside linebacker in the country by Scout.com - says the three schools currently sticking out to him and recruiting him the hardest are Boston College, Iowa and Kentucky but doesn’t plan on coming up with a top list until the summer.
“It’s hard to come up with a top list right now,” said Tucky, who only has a planned visit to Boston in early June. “I want to see where Wisconsin sees me prospect wise and learn more about them before I know where they stand. I’d like to visit them.”
Tucky finished his junior season with 100 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks and two forced fumbled. Also the team’s fullback, he finished with 704 rushing yards (116 carries) and eight touchdowns while catching 18 passes for 185 yards and five receiving touchdowns.
“I’m very happy with how everything played out,” said Tucky. “I think what really didn’t show was our record. We didn’t do too well last year. We fell short in the fourth quarter quite a few times. We have a good football program, but we had a new coaching staff put in and we’re still in the rebuilding stage. I absolutely love the guy, but I don’t think the record doesn’t reflect on how much effort we’ve put in.
“From a maturity level, an athlete standpoint and strength wise, I’ve grown a lot. I hit a ceiling last season with my bench and squat, but we had an eight-week strength program this past winter and my numbers went through the roof. I got a lot stronger physically and also mentally.”
In addition to his workouts, Tucky has spent the offseason reading leadership books to prepare for his role as a senior captain.
“My teammates voted and I was the top person voted for,” said Tucky. “I really respected that people thought so highly of me, so I wanted to be a good leader.”
Tucky is also a standout on the track team, having won the 100 meters, 200 meters, 4x100 and 4x200 at the conference meet.
“It’s a nice side sport,” said Tucky. “It’s something to keep me busy.”