Chance Tucker Reflects On Notre Dame Commitment
Not every aspect of a prospect committing to a school comes with a smile.
While a high school football recruit has the opportunity to give good news to a coaching staff about his decision, he also has to tell other coaches who he has built a strong connection with that he won’t be choosing their school.
Encino (Calif.) Crespi class of 2021 cornerback Chance Tucker spent last weekend informing every coaching staff that offered him that he would be heading elsewhere.
“Honestly, it was really, really tough,” Tucker said of those conversations. “It was pretty hard. I built some wonderful relationships, especially with those at Washington.
“It was tough to say goodbye, but they understood; it’s how this process goes. At the end of the day, you can only choose one school.”
In early July, Tucker took self-guided tours of Notre Dame and Washington — his unofficial top two schools — to get a better feel of the campus atmosphere. The Huskies led in Tucker’s recruitment at that point, but it was Notre Dame that ultimately won his recruitment July 17, and he announced his decision on Twitter July 22.
“If I’m being honest, yeah,” Tucker said about Washington holding the early lead. “I went back and forth between the two. I was trying to get as much information in as I could. In the end, Notre Dame’s academic prestige played a huge role in my decision.
“It was a process over the next two weeks after I went on the visits. I took time to really think about it. In the end, it was really the academic prestige, life after football and development Notre Dame is going to put me through. I love the way that Coach [Clark] Lea and Coach [Mike] Mickens are going to challenge me every day to be my best. I know they want the best in me as much as I want the best in myself.”
Tucker can’t point to a specific moment where he knew the Fighting Irish would be his choice, but last week he was on Zoom calls with cornerbacks coach Mike Mickens and defensive coordinator Clark Lea every day. Those conversations where key in making his decision a bit easier.
“My mind had been thinking Notre Dame that entire week,” Tucker said. “I remember after one Zoom meeting, I walked out into my living room and told my parents that I think this is where I want to go and spend the next four years of my life. They were excited.
“I told Coach Lea and Coach Mickens on Friday, and then I took the weekend to reach out to all of the coaches who recruited me and thanked them for everything — letting them know that I appreciated them and building relationships with me.
“I also talked with Coach [Brian] Kelly on Friday. That was very heartfelt, and I felt the love from them. I’m super excited to join the Notre Dame family, and I can’t wait to go pursue a national championship.”
Tucker’s parents, Byron and Karen, were ecstatic to hear the news.
“I kind of knew what they wanted all along,” Tucker said regarding his parents’ favoritism towards Notre Dame. “In the end, it was my decision and they would’ve supported me wherever I went. It just kind of worked out in their favor. I’m sure they’re happy, and I am happy as well.”
Tucker plans to major in business at Notre Dame.
“One thing I want to add is I talked to Mr. Mendoza of the business school at Notre Dame, and that was really special to me,” Tucker added.
In 13 games last fall, Tucker posted 58 tackles, 10 passes defended and three interceptions (one returned for a touchdown). At receiver, he caught 13 passes for 176 yards and two scores.
• Learn more about our print and digital publication, Blue & Gold Illustrated.
• Watch our videos and subscribe to our YouTube channel
• Sign up for Blue & Gold's news alerts and daily newsletter
• Subscribe to our podcast on iTunes
• Like us on Facebook.