So apparently Cliff Tucker isn't gone just yet. The Terrapins' 6-6 senior guard (on the hardwood), has joined the football Terps as a wide receiver, per the Diamondback's Conor Walsh:
Terp basketball guard Cliff Tucker joined the football team today as a wide receiver, a team spokesman confirmed.
I guess the Saga of Cliff Tucker just can't come to an end. Unfortunately for Cliff (and everyone else), Avery Graham has his #24, meaning he'll change numbers. (Maybe 42?)
There had been some chatter about this earlier: Tucker played football in HS and was a two-star in that sport. (For the record, his rating took a serious hit when it became obvious basketball was his first love). He went basketball-only in College Park, but it obviously didn't work out quite the way he wanted. Randy Edsall came to town, presumably with an open mind, and it looks like Tucker decided to try out...and made the team.
Miami's Jimmy Graham had a very similar trajectory, spending four years on the court, then one year on the gridiron as a tight end. He parlayed that into a kind-of-successful NFL career with the Saints; maybe Cliff can do the same.
Maryland could certainly use the help. Ronnie Tyler is the lone starter from last year, and he's far from a sure thing. There's talent elsewhere in the squad, but a complete dearth of experience. Tucker doesn't change that paradigm much, but he does offer another potential option, plenty of depth, and an intriguing physical matchup: at 6-6, he'd be far and away the tallest receiver on the team (and, in fact, in recent memory). He's well-built, if a little lanky, and obviously has both hops and quickness. In physical terms, he has everything he needs to be a good wide receiver.
It'll be interesting to see how his hands turn out. He never had particularly soft hands for the roundball, and most basketball-to-football transfers take place with power forwards, who box out, rebound, and have good hands. If those are good, he could see playing time. If you're interested, here's the only video I could find of him on the gridiron:
He certainly looks natural with the ball. Unfortunately, that's not a lot of tape, but you have to be blind not to be impressed with his ability to go up and win jump balls. That makes sense given the basketball background, but in the video we have, he did a fantastic job of locating the ball, outjumping corners, and catching it at its highest point. That's a serious threat.
And would you look at that: I got all the way through this post without making a single Cliff Tucker basketball joke!
Oh, wait. Nevermind.
I'm intrigued to see how Cliff fares on the field. I'll be rooting for him. He's an interesting story, and the downfield threat he poses is considerable.
Update: Quick answer to a question: he'll have one year of eligibility on the football field. I assume he's going the Greg Paulus route of getting an extra year of eligibility in a different sport.