About the only thing Cliff Tucker was disappointed with in his initial fling with college football was that his spring game ended with a tweaked ankle.
“I’m not used to planting,” Tucker said after being hobbled running a hitch route. “You don’t have to do that too much in basketball.”
Indeed, the Maryland swingman-turned-wide receiver is doing a few things he wasn’t accustomed to the last four years.
Tucker was a high school football star, catching 19 touchdown passes as a senior at Chapin High School in El Paso, Texas. But he opted for basketball and played four seasons at Maryland.
As his final season unfolded, Tucker said his mother suggested a few times he should explore playing football.
With Maryland’s basketball season ending with an ACC tournament loss to Duke, Tucker had time to consider a switch to football throughout March.
After a call from coach Randy Edsall, Tucker followed through and joined Maryland for its last three weeks of spring practice.
“It’s treated me good,” Tucker said. “They gave me a lot of chances. They threw me right in once I got here and made me learn the plays. I’m glad they gave me a lot of chances to play.”
Tucker had one catch for five yards before getting injured Saturday. He was initially splitting time with freshman Nigel King on the second-team offense until he was forced to the sideline.
And as for where things go from here? Tucker said he will graduate next month and that he could attempt to pursue a second major once the fall arrives.
“I figured ‘Why not?’ How many guys can say they played football and basketball at Maryland,” the 6-foot-6 Tucker said. “I figured why not go out there and try it. It’s not like I’ve never played football before. I knew I would be rusty after four years. After being here three weeks, I’m slowly starting to get it back.”
—- Patrick Stevens