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Everything You Need to Know About Tony Tucker

There appears to be a possibility that former Pitt DE Tony Tucker will join the team this year. While his presence would give some much-needed depth (and possibly a new starter by the end of the year), I'm guessing most of you don't know too much about him. So here's a quick primer:

Tucker is originally from Bowie, Md. and played for St. John's in DC - the same HS as current Terp Pete White and 2010 commit Andre Monroe, if you wondering. A four star on all three services, he originally considered Maryland, but ended up at Pitt. He actually announced that decision during the Under Armor All-American Game on ESPN, for what it's worth.

After redshirting his first year, he played in every game in a reserve role last year. Though he only had four tackles, it can be tough for DEs to rack up tackles, so I wouldn't be that worried about that number, especially because he was probably only in during pass-rushing situations.

He left Pitt for "personal issues at home" - what exactly that is isn't known. If it's a family illness - particularly of the severe kind - it's highly possible that the NCAA would waive the normal one year waiting period. There are numerous examples of this: Tashard Choice, Tyler Smith, and Elliot Williams come to mind. If not, well, then it gets more debatable. If he's forced to wait a year, he'd be a junior by the time he could play, and I'd expect to go to a DII school in the area instead. Of course, this would need to happen quickly, as I have trouble seeing the NCAA approving anything after a game has been played.

All that said, the NCAA is one of the least sensible institutions in the United States. Predicting them is like predicting the cravings of a pregnant woman (honey, can you get me some pickles and peanut butter?).

If he does go to Maryland and the NCAA waives his sit year, I'd expect to get a lot of snaps - and eventually start - at DE. At the beginning, he'll probably be put in only in passing situations or vanilla playcalls, but as he becomes more comfortable, his PT would increase. He's definitely a guy who can make a game-changing play (he did - twice - against Iowa) and would be good in the aggressive, blitz-focused defense of Don Brown (we need to shorten the "aggressive...Brown" phrase somehow). In a nutshell, Tucker is a very quick, very productive, but slightly undersized DE.

Despite being a bit small, he seems stronger than he should be. When you watch his HS tape, it's pretty clear that he just makes plays. He has a knack for getting off the ball quickly and penetrating into the backfield. ESPN agrees, and calls him a "get it done" player. While he won't be blowing up too many runs, he did well in pursuit and got to the QB with relative ease, something Maryland struggled with at times last year.

There were some concerns about his size in HS, but I think he's pretty well set at DE right now - he's at 245 lbs., which is big for a LB and not bad for a DE. And really, with DL being one of the bigger weaknesses of the team, I don't see how he could be placed anywhere else. If he ends up in College Park, you should feel much more confident about the state of the defensive line.