Notre Dame 99-to-0: No. 22 Chance Tucker, freshman cornerback

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Listed measurements: 6-foot, 165 pounds.
2021-22 year, eligibility: The one class on Notre Dame’s roster with clear eligibility parameters, Tucker has four seasons of eligibility remaining and will keep that tally as long as he appears in no more than four games this year.
Depth Chart: The Irish have ever-present questions and concerns at cornerback, but Tucker is still unlikely to crack even a three-deep this season. Notre Dame signed a quartet of cornerbacks during the pandemic cycle in an attempt to attack those worries with a shotgun approach, but those working at boundary cornerback have better hopes of playing time in 2021 than those at field, and Tucker’s slight frame essentially rules out any boundary work in the near future. Sophomore Clarence Lewis figures to start at field cornerback with senior Tariq Bracy backing him up while also possibly starting at nickel back.
Recruiting: The consensus three-star prospect chose the Irish over most of the West Coast, led by Washington, Washington State and Arizona. Any defensive back sought by the Huskies should be considered a worthwhile recruit, simply based off Washington’s recent track record of developing NFL talent at the position. As an Alabama offer boosts a running back’s résumé, so should a Huskies pursuit for a cornerback. The No. 41 cornerback in the class, per rivals.com, Tucker was also pursued by five Ivy League programs.

NAME, IMAGE, LIKENESS

WHY NO. 22?
Tucker appears to have worn No. 18 during a recruiting visit photoshoot to Notre Dame, or maybe that will be his number moving forward and that Twitter profile photo is from this summer. (It really looks like the latter.) But until further notice, junior defensive end NaNa Osafo-Mensah wears No. 18, and there would be no sense in giving two defenders the same number. (More than no sense, it would be outright foolish and an unforced mistake.) And if briefly thinking maybe this foreshadows a move to receiver for Tucker, senior Joe Wilkins wears No. 18 there.

Tucker wore No. 7 in high school, a digit held by junior defensive end Isaiah Foskey currently.

Quite frankly, No. 22 is simply a guess because it is an open slot, and the intention was to put such freshmen later in the summer with hopes of getting the actual number via a social media post, but that has worked only to cloud this hypothesizing.

UPDATED IN MID-JULY
Tucker will wear indeed No. 18, per some updates on Notre Dame’s athletics website.

WHAT WAS SAID WHEN TUCKER SIGNED
“Tucker may need some time to acclimate at cornerback, having focused much of his high school time on receiver.

“The day may never come that Notre Dame has enough cornerbacks. Right now, for example, in the midst of an unbeaten season and arguably with its best all-around team in more than 30 years, the Irish could use a nickel back. Taking flyers on athletic perimeter players to throw into the mix is a prudent approach to what has always been a numbers game.

“Watching Tucker on tape, one gets the feeling he would have received a bit more recruiting praise in a normal cycle. One way or another, perhaps simply via special teams work, he Will Likely find his way onto the field in 2021.

2021 OUTLOOK
Special teams work is a valuable contribution, but if that is Tucker’s focus in 2021, Notre Dame is unlikely to use him in more than four games so as to preserve a season of eligibility.

Even after Lewis and Bracy, one presumes the Irish would give sophomore Caleb Offord an opportunity at cornerback before turning to Tucker, unless the latter truly impresses in preseason practices with his length and strength. (For what it’s worth, so as to avoid a misleading pun, many synonyms such as “opportunity” and “shot” and “hopes” have been used in this article. Maybe that effort will not be necessary once Tucker is closer to his own … chance.)

Listed at 165 pounds, though perhaps actually closer to 180, a bit of work in the weight room would behoove Tucker. Even for a fleet cornerback, playing that far below 180 can make most receivers difficult matchups. Consider, at 5-foot-9 ⅛, Shaun Crawford finished his career playing at 180. Tucker should play around 190.

DOWN THE ROAD
Bracy’s time is limited, despite the pandemic eligibility waiver. If he does not find consistent playing time this year — a worry given his penchant for getting beaten in one-on-one coverage — a graduate transfer may make the most sense for his final season. At that point, Notre Dame would need both a backup to Lewis and a nickel back.

Tucker will have competition in Offord and fellow freshman JoJo Johnson, not to mention those coming next, but he will get a look in 2022. And there is another synonym.

NOTRE DAME 99-TO-0
Let’s try this again
No. 99 Rylie Mills, sophomore defensive tackle
No. 98 Alexander Ehrensberger, sophomore defensive end
No. 97 Gabriel Rubio, early-enrolled freshman defensive tackle the size of a Volkswagen
No. 95 Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, fifth-year defensive tackle-turned-end
No. 92 Aidan Keanaaina, sophomore defensive tackle
No. 88 Mitchell Evans, early-enrolled freshman tight end, a former high school quarterback
No. 87 Michael Mayer, star sophomore tight end and lead offensive weapon
No. 85 George Takacs, senior tight end, ‘152 years old’
No. 84 Kevin Bauman, sophomore tight end
No. 82 Xavier Watts, sophomore receiver
No. 81 Jay Brunelle, speedy sophomore receiver
No. 80 Cane Berrong, early-enrolled freshman tight end
No. 79 Tosh Baker, sophomore offensive tackle
No. 78 Pat Coogan, incoming freshman center
No. 77 Quinn Carroll, junior offensive lineman
No. 76 Joe Alt, incoming and towering freshman offensive lineman
No. 75 Josh Lugg, fifth-year right tackle, finally a starter
No. 73 Andrew Kristofic, junior offensive tackle, possible backup center
No. 72 Caleb Johnson, early-enrolled offensive tackle, former Auburn commit
No. 70 Hunter Spears, junior offensive guard, former defensive tackle
No. 68 Michael Carmody, sophomore offensive tackle
No. 62 Marshall guard Cain Madden transfers to Notre Dame, likely 2021 starter
No. 57 Jayson Ademilola, senior defensive tackle
No. 56 John Dirksen, senior reserve offensive lineman
No. 56 Howard Cross, junior defensive tackle
No. 55 Jarrett Patterson, the best Irish offensive lineman
No. 54 Jacob Lacey, junior defensive tackle
No. 54 Blake Fisher, early-enrolled freshman left tackle, starter?
No. 52 Zeke Correll, junior, starting center
No. 52 Bo Bauer, senior linebacker, #BeADog
No. 50 Rocco Spindler, early-enrolled freshman offensive guard
No. 48 Will Schweitzer, early-enrolled freshman defensive end
No. 44 Devin Aupiu, early-enrolled freshman defensive end
No. 44 Alex Peitsch and No. 65 Michael Vinson, Irish long snappers, both needed
No. 41 Kurt Hinish, fifth-year defensive tackle, eventual record-holder in games played
No. 40 Drew White, fifth-year linebacker, three-year starter
No. 39 Jonathan Doerer, fifth-year kicker, using the pandemic exception
No. 38 Jason Onye, incoming and raw freshman defensive end
No. 37 Joshua Bryan, incoming freshman kicker
No. 35 Marist Liufau, junior Hawaiian linebacker
No. 34 Osita Ekwonu, junior defensive end
No. 33 Shayne Simon, senior linebacker
No. 29 Matt Salerno, senior punt returner, walk-on
No. 28 TaRiq Bracy, senior cornerback, possible nickel back
No. 27 JD Bertrand, junior linebacker
No. 26 Clarence Lewis, sophomore cornerback, second-year starter
No. 25 Philip Riley, early-enrolled freshman cornerback
No. 25 Chris Tyree, speedy sophomore running back
No. 24 Jack Kiser, junior linebacker, onetime pandemic hero
No. 23 Litchfield Ajavon, junior safety
No. 23 Kyren Williams, junior running back
No. 22 Logan Diggs, incoming freshman running back