While B.J. Tucker was assured by everyone he talked with that he would be drafted last weekend, doubt started creeping into his mind with just two rounds remaining on Sunday.
His teammate, Al Johnson, was the only Badger that had been selected at that point (second round, 38th overall), and he had seen many names pop up on his television screen that he expected to be picked in front of.
"Based on what a lot of people were saying, I thought it would be a little earlier," Tucker said. "The group of corners I was in with all got picked up, and they hadn't picked me up by the fifth round. So I started thinking a little bit."
Luckily for Tucker, his nervousness didn't last long, as the call finally came from the same organization that selected Johnson the day before, the Dallas Cowboys. Shortly thereafter, he called Johnson, greeting him with "How's it going, teammate?" and the two discussed their first trip to their new home, tomorrow morning.
Tucker and Johnson will both be leaving their friends and families behind in Wisconsin, but they are happy to have each other as they begin the rookie experience.
"Just knowing that you have somebody that you've played with and you're comfortable with makes it all that much better," Tucker said.
It's been quite a ride for Tucker, who never shook the criticism of Badger fans from the day he arrived on campus until he hung up his Wisconsin uniform for the final time. While Tucker certainly had his difficulties at the college level, he was much improved during his senior season, and his speed was something the Cowboys couldn't pass up.
For now, Tucker is expected to make a contribution on special teams.
"(Dallas) said they like what they see, and they're going to give me an opportunity to just play," Tucker said. "Right now they're talking about special teams, and then later on I'll get a chance to make a position…right now getting an opportunity is the most important thing."
Considering the difficulties Tucker had throughout his college career, getting an opportunity is no small accomplishment. It's been a long journey for the Milwaukee speedster, but he's finally reached his goal.
Tucker Excited About the Cowboys
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