Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.) head coach Steve Belles has sent throngs of players into the college football ranks, including numerous offensive lineman.
His latest blue-chip recruit is among his biggest — literally and figuratively — in 6-foot-6, 280-pound tackle Casey Tucker.
Tucker emerged as a 10th-grader in 2011, helping to lead Hamilton to a 13-1 record and a state runner up finish.
Shortly afterward, the college scholarship offers starting flowing in.
Arizona State. Notre Dame. Michigan. Oklahoma.
The summer before his junior season, Tucker committed to USC. However, in the spring he decided to withdraw his commitment and explore other options.
Since then, Tucker has proven to be one of the country’s premier offensive lineman, earning the No. 76 spot in the 247Composite Rankings for the class of 2014.
College plans can wait, however, as Tucker and Hamilton have more urgent business to handle: a date with nationally-ranked Mountain Pointe.
Hamilton is battling injuries, including Tucker’s high-ankle sprain, but no one is feeling sorry for the team with likely the state’s deepest roster.
“We are playing well with eight starters out,” Belles said. “I think we had players step up in their place and that’s what we needed to see.”
It’s unclear whether Tucker will be green-lighted for action on Friday.
If he’s not, it’s a safe bet he’ll work to rehab his injury to return as quickly as possible. From there, Tucker will continue his quest to perfect his craft.
“I’m always willing to get better,” Tucker said in an interview with the South Bend Tribune. “I’m always working on something new, studying the game, making sure I know my stuff.”