Listed measurements: 5-foot-11 ¾, 183 pounds.
2022-23 year, eligibility: A sophomore, Tucker has all four seasons of eligibility remaining.
Depth Chart: Notre Dame has its pair of starting cornerbacks in senior Cam Hart and junior Clarence Lewis with fifth-year Tariq Bracy starting at nickel back and filling in wherever else needed otherwise. The exact two-deep behind that trio is murky, with only early-enrolled freshman Jaden Mickey separating himself from the pack of five other freshmen or sophomores with four years of eligibility remaining, including Tucker.
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.
CAREER TO DATE
Tucker did not take the field on a Saturday in 2021, unlike his two classmates at cornerback. Both Philip Riley and Ryan Barnes played in the maximum four games allowed while still preserving eligibility, though they both also enrolled early in 2021 while Tucker did not arrive at Notre Dame until the summer.
NAME, IMAGE, LIKENESS
Former Irish players have long fundraised via their lifting performances at their combine, something they could do only because they were done playing college football. Yes, they could not raise money to combat rare diseases because of archaic NCAA rules.
Nowadays, the Irish can do better, and they will on July 22 in their annual “Lift for Life.” Based on his Twitter activity, Tucker is on the team headlined by senior linebacker JD Bertrand and junior running back Chris Tyree. That team intends to manage 450 max leg press repetitions.
WHAT WAS PROJECTED A YEAR AGO
“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.”
Tucker not playing in 2021 was not a shock. He played mostly receiver in high school; time was needed to adjust to cornerback.
Time may still be needed, but there is no advantage to sitting Tucker any longer. Some Saturday tests will reveal how he is taking to being on defense full-time.
Yet, those tests may be few and far between. Notre Dame’s starting trio of Lewis, Hart and Bracy will have some leash, especially early in the season. Behind them, Mickey, Barnes and Riley look best positioned to step into roles. Then, perhaps only then, the Irish might turn to Tucker.
Aside from that, some special teams contributions feel like a default for Tucker, even at sub-six-foot.
DOWN THE ROAD
Notre Dame has employed a shotgun approach in cornerback recruiting the last two cycles to compensate for follies in the two cycles beforehand. Natural roster attrition has played a part in the Irish having only one recruited cornerback to show in the current junior and senior classes, but the primary fault was the initial recruiting. Hart was a receiver convert; only Lewis is a cornerback recruited as such of that age.
Pulling in seven cornerbacks in the next two classes, the current freshmen and sophomores, has given Notre Dame multiple chances to find competent depth, but it will eventually lead to a bottleneck at the position.
Both Lewis and Hart should start for the Irish in 2023, as well, though Notre Dame will need a new starting nickel back. That slim opening will not be enough to satiate seven cornerbacks along with the pair of star recruits currently committed to the Irish in the class of 2023.
Tucker may not be the piece of that traffic jam that takes the off-ramp, but someone will, and to this point, he is at the back of that line.
NOTRE DAME 99-TO-0
From Blake Grupe to Braden Lenzy, the offseason countdown begins anew
No. 99 Blake Grupe, kicker, Arkansas State transfer
No. 99 Rylie Mills, junior defensive lineman, a tackle now playing more at end
No. 98 Tyson Ford, early-enrolled freshman, a defensive tackle recruited as a four-star end
No. 97 Gabriel Rubio, sophomore defensive tackle, still ‘as wide as a Volkswagen’
No. 92 Aidan Keanaaina, a junior defensive tackle who tore his ACL in March
No. 91 Josh Bryan, sophomore kicker
No. 91 Aiden Gobaira, early-enrolled freshman defensive end, four-star recruit
No. 90 Alexander Ehrensberger, junior defensive end, a German project nearing completion
No. 88 Mitchell Evans, sophomore tight end
No. 87 Michael Mayer, junior tight end, likely All-American
No. 85 Holden Staes, incoming freshman tight end
No. 84 Kevin Bauman, junior tight end
No. 83 Jayden Thomas, sophomore receiver, former four-star recruit
No. 80 Cane Berrong, sophomore tight end coming off an ACL injury
No. 79 Tosh Baker, one of four young Irish offensive tackles
No. 78 Pat Coogan, sophomore center, recovering from a meniscus injury
No. 77 Ty Chan, incoming offensive tackle, former four-star recruit
No. 76 Joe Alt, sophomore starting left tackle
No. 75 Josh Lugg, sixth-year offensive lineman, likely starting right guard
No. 74 Billy Schrauth, early-enrolled freshman offensive guard coming off foot surgery
No. 73 Andrew Kristofic, senior offensive tackle-turned-guard
No. 72 Caleb Johnson, sophomore offensive tackle, former Auburn pledge
No. 68 Michael Carmody, junior offensive line utility man
No. 65 Michael Vinson, long snapper, ‘Milk’
No. 65 Chris Smith, defensive tackle, Harvard transfer
No. 59 Aamil Wagner, consensus four-star incoming freshman offensive tackle
No. 58 Ashton Craig, incoming freshman center
No. 57 Jayson Ademilola, fifth-year defensive tackle, coming off shoulder surgery
No. 56 Joey Tanona, early-enrolled offensive guard coming off a concussion
No. 56 Howard Cross, senior defensive tackle with heavy hands, and that’s a good thing
No. 55 Jarrett Patterson, fifth-year offensive lineman, three-year starting center, captain
No. 54 Jacob Lacey, senior defensive tackle, now lighter and a starter
No. 54 Blake Fisher, sophomore starting right tackle, ‘ginormous’
No. 52 Zeke Correll, senior center or perhaps left guard
No. 52 Bo Bauer, fifth-year linebacker, Ironman
No. 50 Rocco Spindler, sophomore offensive guard
No. 48 Will Schweitzer, sophomore end-turned-linebacker
No. 47 Jason Oyne, sophomore defensive end-turned-tackle
No. 44 Junior Tuihalamaka, early-enrolled freshman linebacker, consensus four-star recruit
No. 44 Alex Peitsch, junior long snapper
No. 42 Nolan Ziegler, early-enrolled freshman linebacker, Irish legacy
No. 41 Donovan Hinish, incoming freshman defensive tackle, Kurt’s brother
No. 40 Joshua Burnham, early-enrolled freshman linebacker-turned-end
No. 34 Osita Ekwonu, senior Vyper end coming off an Achilles injury
No. 31 NaNa Osafo-Mensah, senior defensive end
No. 29 Matt Salerno, fifth-year receiver, punt returner, former walk-on
No. 28 TaRiq Bracy, fifth-year starting nickel back
No. 27 JD Bertrand, senior linebacker recovering from a plaguing wrist injury
No. 25 Philip Riley, sophomore cornerback
No. 25 Chris Tyree, junior running back, possible Irish bellcow
No. 24 Jack Kiser, senior linebacker, second-year starter
No. 23 Jayden Bellamy, early-enrolled freshman cornerback
No. 22 Justin Walters, sophomore safety
No. 22 Logan Diggs, sophomore running back with a shoulder injury
No. 21 Jaden Mickey, early-enrolled freshman cornerback
No. 20 Jadarian Price, early-enrolled freshman running back with a ruptured Achilles
No. 20 Benjamin Morrison, freshman cornerback
No. 9 Eli Raridon, incoming freshman tight end with a torn ACL