By Alex Norman
College coaches are regular visitors to Knoxville Catholic football practices, and why not. The Fighting Irish are putting more and more of its players onto college rosters.
Four members of the Knoxville Catholic football team are listed in the Top 35 on the 247Sports list of high school recruits in the state of Tennessee for the Class of 2020. That includes wide receiver Chancellor Bright, offensive linemen Cooper Mays and Bryn Tucker, and defensive end Tyler Baron.
“This is a terrific program,” said Tucker. “When I moved up here my freshman year from Nashville, I knew this was the perfect place for me and my family. And since that day I never regretted that decision and I’m glad that I am in this position. And I’m so happy for this team. We have tons of D-1 players out here and I am just glad to be a part of it.”
Tucker is the first one who has made his college decision publicly known. Earlier this spring, he picked Clemson over Tennessee, Alabama and any other big time program you can recall.
“Clemson is a terrific school,” said Tucker when we caught up with him at a recent spring practice. “Besides the football they teach you about growing up in life in general. Coming up in the next 4-6 years, I want to learn about life. Coach (Dabo) Swinney… he teaches that every day about life, about a career, to have a life, have a family, and to be a good father for your family. I respect that decision so much. And football wise, they win, they are a good team… and I can’t wait to be a part of that good offensive line down there.”
Clemson of course is coming off a national championship and two titles in the last three years. Along with Alabama, Clemson is one of the top two programs in the country. Tucker is taking the advice of the Tigers coaching staff to heart prior to his senior season at Knoxville Catholic.
“(They want me to) just keep working on my feet, my hand movement, and my conditioning to get into better shape and be a better leader for my team. I can’t wait to get down to Clemson.”
“He’s a great kid first of all,” said Knoxville Catholic head coach Steve Matthews. “He works extremely hard, and has really continued to improve every single year. He’s big and that’s a part of it. He just keeps improving and we are excited about him and his future.”
That immediate future involves the first year for Knoxville Catholic playing in Division II Class 3A. The competition is stepping up a notch.
“There are gonna be some big time guys, some D-1 guys, but we are ready for the challenge and are ready to get after it,” said Tucker. “We are a good team and we work hard. We are just having a fun time and building chemistry. If you have good team chemistry it is hard to beat that. I’m just glad I’m playing with this team right now. It feels great and can’t wait to get into the regular season.”