- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 8, 2007

Ross Tucker wasn’t chosen in the 2001 NFL Draft but made Washington’s roster as a rookie free agent. He was cut three times during his first five NFL seasons before sitting out 2006.

Will Whitticker was Green Bay’s seventh-round pick in 2005. He started most of that season but was waived by the Packers last summer and spent last season out of football.

Both Redskins offensive line hopefuls obviously are well aware of the precarious nature of NFL employment, which explains why Tucker and Whitticker were working hard at establishing their young business ventures while their more secure teammates were relaxing during the players’ recent 11-day break from Redskin Park.

Tucker had the idea to bring college athletic recruiting into the 21st century for a couple of years, but it wasn’t until he met a computer entrepreneur at the wedding of former Redskins teammate Alex Sulfsted last year that the concept started to become a reality.

“When I first had the idea, the amount of computer storage would have been cost-prohibitive,” Tucker said. “After learning at the wedding that my partner had significant Internet video expertise, I told him about my idea of athletes uploading their game films as opposed to sending them through the mail. He immediately said it could be done and we got excited as we began to talk about how we would go about improving the recruiting industry.”

The 28-year-old Tucker, who has a degree in politics from Princeton and credits his smarts for lasting as long as he has in football, now is the driving force and co-owner of Gobigrecruiting.com.

“I’m hoping it’s the perfect storm of the right technology and the right pricing,” Tucker said. “Now, the average high school player sends about 10 to 25 DVDs or tapes to colleges. That’s an inordinate amount of time for the player, his parents or coach to make all those copies, put them in cases, write out the envelopes, stuff the envelopes and then send them through FedEx or through the mail.

“The beauty of my idea is that we can become the online version of all that work so high school athletes can upload their DVDs to our Web site and use our dropdown menu to send them to whatever colleges they want. What would take them 10 to 20 hours will take us half an hour for roughly the same price they’re paying now for the blank DVDs, postage or shipping. If they just have a tape, they can send it to us. We’ll burn a DVD of it and upload it for them.”

Gobigrecruiting.com, which has been approved by the NCAA, allows colleges to access their Web site for free.

“After talking with several coaches from Division I to Division III, I became more and more convinced that there’s a need for GoBigRecruiting’s technology,” Tucker said. “Although there are other content management companies out there, there’s no true solution for a Web based video management platform. We’re really trying to change how athletes submit their game films to colleges.”

Whitticker, who has a degree in merchandise management from Michigan State, started Whitticker Investments — an online real estate firm offering sales and mortgages — when he was a Packers rookie. It took Whitticker and his partner, an older Michigan State alumnus, about a year to get their Web site up and running.

The company now has offices in East Lansing, Mich., and San Diego, with a third set to open soon in Los Angeles. They’re also affiliated with a Chicago-based company, Nexus, which gave Whitticker Investments the rights to the San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco markets.

“It’s nice to run your own company and have people working for you,” the 24-year-old Whitticker said. “The first few months have been very good. Obviously, I can’t be in the offices that often, but a lot of our work is done over the Internet. I’m always on the computer. Our five people in San Diego are doing about 10 houses apiece per month with the average about $550,000 a house.”

That’s almost twice what the hefty 6-5, 338-pound Whitticker will earn if he wins a backup job in Washington in a competition with Tucker, Mike Pucillo, Jason Fabini and Taylor Whitley.

“I like the real estate business because you can make people feel happy,” said Whitticker, who also owns oceanfront properties in the Carolinas through another friend’s company in Woodbridge. “Next to your family and friends, your house is what you cherish the most.”

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