Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Recruit breakdown: Casey Tucker
By Craig Haubert
Casey Tucker (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) can be a salty presence in the offensive trenches.
Tucker, the No. 46 player in the ESPN 300 and the No. 5 offensive tackle, possesses good size and ability, but one of the aspects of his game that can stand out is the edge that he plays with. He can be a tough and physical player who doesn’t look to just get the job done, but punish defenders in the process and finish blocks. While you like his demeanor, Tucker is more than just a tough guy. He has very good size, with a frame that can continue to be developed further with time in a college weight program. With his combination of size, ability and tenaciousness, he can be very effective in the running game. He can get into a defender and deliver a nice pop, with the ability to roll his hips at contact and drive his knees and generate push off the ball. In pass protection, he is capable of protecting the edge. He can deliver a good punch and lock on and keep rushers in front of him.
Who he reminds us of: Tucker reminds us of another Arizona prospect, Taylor Lewan, who went on to have a very successful career at Michigan. What comes to mind to link these two is their nasty disposition, as both look to enjoy and even thrive on the physical aspect of the game and play with a mean streak. Lewan has been in trouble at times because of his aggressiveness, and Tucker will need to work as well to make sure he keeps his emotions in check. But these two come to play and can make life miserable for opponents.
Teams with the biggest need at the position: A few teams remain in the mix for Tucker, but as signing day approaches, Stanford and Arizona State look to be the clear front-runners, with both teams scheduled to get visits this month. Stanford in recent years has built a very strong offensive line tradition and in 2012 signed an outstanding offensive line class that consisted of current starter Andrus Peat and experienced Kyle Murphy. The Cardinal, based on the strength of that class, are currently still in good shape at offensive tackle, but both those players will be heading into their junior seasons, so a player such as Tucker can be a nice building block for the quickly approaching future. Perhaps the bigger need is with the Sun Devils, simply because Tucker in an in-state prospect. With players such as Peat and Lewan having left the state in previous years, it would be a tough blow for the ASU program to watch another talented tackle prospect get away.
Other uncommitted options at the position: At this stage of the game, there are not many uncommitted options left at the tackle position in the high school ranks. Arizona State does have a commitment from top-25 OT Sam Jones (Highlands Ranch, Colo./ThunderRidge) as well as developmental in-state OT prospect Quinn Bailey (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta). Along the offensive line, Stanford currently only has a verbal from projected guard Austin Hall (Phoenix/Brophy Prep). Tucker remains the key option for both programs at the position, but the state of Arizona does have another promising uncommitted offensive tackle prospect in Andrew Mike (Tucson, Ariz./Sabino). Mike needs to keep filling out his frame and developing his game, but has good flexibility and playing strength and can develop into a very productive player. Mike, a high-three star prospect, is not a likely option for either program at this stage, making the battle for Tucker an interesting one to watch for both the Sun Devils and the arguable favorite, the Cardinal.