Tyler Tucker is among the most eager Miami University football players this spring.
The East Lansing, Mich., native was a promising true freshman in 2011, but missed the entire 2012 campaign after undergoing shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum.
“The most exciting thing is playing with my teammates again, the camaraderie,” said Tucker, a 6-foot-2, 223-pound outside linebacker. “I’m one to never give up, and it’s easy with my teammates because we all rally together. It’s fun to get out here again.”
He’s had no lingering shoulder issues and is in the mix for a starting position. Chris Wade was MU’s leading tackler last fall and will return for his senior year at one outside linebacker spot — Tucker, Josh Dooley and Collin Boucher are the top candidates for the other.
Tucker collected 10 solo tackles, eight assists and 1.5 tackles for loss as a freshman.
“My shoulder feels great,” he said. “Our defense is looking really good. Just flying around is our main focus.”
Jay Peterson, the RedHawks’ defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, said Tucker is gradually working his way into playing shape.
“He missed some early parts of the spring due to sickness, so he’s just getting back into the swing of it,” Peterson said.
Asked to describe Tucker’s strengths, the Miami coach added, “Knowledge of the game, experience and athleticism. He’s more of a speed guy. He’s got to work to be more physical. He can be — we just need him to be that all the time.”
Tucker is a former quarterback and played high school ball with MU running back Spencer Treadwell, the son of Miami head coach Don Treadwell.
“I didn’t have the arm for quarterback,” said Tucker, who threw for 3,019 yards and 21 touchdowns in his last two seasons at East Lansing High School. “I could just get the ball to the athletes and let them do their thing.”