Randy Edsall had heard in recent weeks that Cliff Tucker, who just completed his career on the school’s men’s basketball team, was interested in returning to the gridiron, so the first-year football coach reached out to the 6-foot-6 former two-star wide receiver recruit to gage his interest in playing for the Terrapins.
Another school had requested Tucker’s release, and Edsall preferred not to have Tucker turn into someone else’s career-revival story. After a series of discussions, Tucker signed on to play wide receiver. His first day with the team was Monday, and his first practice was Tuesday.
Edsall said Tucker caught one pass across the middle, but mostly, it was just a day for Tucker, who has not played competitive football since high school, to soak up information and re-adjust to once-familiar surroundings.
“He understands and picks up stuff pretty well, in terms of the scheme, and he’s working very, very hard,” Edsall said. “He’s got good size. He’s got good leaping ability. We have to get him back to catching that oblong ball instead of that round ball. You know, it’s just a little bit harder to catch. And just working with him, making sure he gets his hands away from his body.”
Edsall said it wouldn’t hurt for Tucker — who was listed at 205 pounds during the basketball season — to put on some weight, but that will come in time.
Quarterback Danny O’Brien said he had discussed with Tucker the possibility of him returning to football several times in recent weeks. The pair had even spent some time throwing the football around.
O’Brien said Tucker didn’t get many opportunities to showcase his skills Tuesday, but he could tell Tucker was enjoying being back in pads.
“He seemed really excited to get a new start with things,” O’Brien said. “I know he had a long career in basketball, which is cool. But I think getting out for the first time playing football was exciting for him . . . It’s pretty cool to see him out there for the first time.”