Playmakers 2021: St. Al linebacker Chase Tucker beefs up for 2021

Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Editor’s note: This story appears in the 2021 edition of Playmakers, The Vicksburg Post’s football preview magazine. Playmakers is included in the Wednesday, Aug. 25 edition of The Vicksburg Post, and is also available at the newspaper’s office at 1106 Washington Street in Vicksburg.

Chase Tucker started to emerge as a defensive playmaker for St. Aloysius late in the 2020 season. He finished with a modest 48 tackles and three sacks, made The Vicksburg Post’s All-County team as a linebacker, and then turned his attention to next year.

In the six months or so that followed, something funny happened — Tucker grew.

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“Genetics. It finally caught up with him,” St. Al head coach Bubba Nettles said with a laugh. “He hit a growth spurt in the offseason that I did not see coming.”

Tucker exploded from a decent-sized 180 pounds to a 215-pound monster in one offseason. His dedication in the weight room and ripped physique earned him new nicknames like “The Hulk” and “Living Legend” from joking teammates, as well as some attention from college coaches.

“He has packed on about 35 pounds of muscle,” Nettles said. “He’s hit the weights like he’s supposed to. He’s done everything I’ve asked him to do exactly like it needs to be done, and he has muscled up. He looks great.”

Tucker is more than just a freakishly athletic sideshow. He is the linchpin of St. Al’s defensive scheme, and one of its most physically gifted players. In addition to his tackle total, he led the team in receiving in 2020 with 14 catches for 196 yards.

Tucker had more than 10 tackles and  caught a 15-yard touchdown pass in a 40-26 loss to Park Place in last week’s 2021 season opener.

Seeing his own potential, he said he dedicated himself to getting bigger and stronger in the weight room this spring. Just how big and strong he got, though, surprised even him.

“It was the weight room. Hitting that every day, like two times a day,” Tucker said. “I’m excited to look back and see how much work I’ve put in, to go from 180 to 210.”

His teammates have been equally impressed. Quarterback Tristan Wilbanks, who Nettles said put in his own share of quality offseason work, said Tucker’s weight room prowess did not go unnoticed.

“He’s huge. He’s got great things ahead of him. I’m glad he’s on my side of the line,” Wilbanks said. “He’s always hitting it hard in the weight room and it’s shown. In the last year he’s gotten huge.”

Besides hitting the weights, Tucker has been making the rounds. Nettles said the 6-foot-3 senior visited a number of college camps this spring and summer, and started to gain some attention from Mississippi’s junior colleges and smaller four-year universities.

No colleges have offered scholarships yet, but Nettles believes it’s only a matter of time if Tucker can produce on the field like he did off of it.

“He’s done the whole camp circuit this summer and I’ve got schools saying, ‘Talk to me about his family.’ When those schools start asking about the family, they’re thinking heavily or about to pull the trigger on an offer,” Nettles said. “If he starts off the way he finished (2020), then by the time he finishes this year it’ll be one for the ages.”

Tucker said the thought of earning a chance to play college football is driving him this season. St. Al plays its opener Aug. 20 at Park Place Christian Academy.

“That’s been my goal ever since I started,” Tucker said. “I want to be the best football player I can. Get as many offers as I can, and have a choice of what college I want to go to.”

2021 St. Aloysius schedule
All games start at 7 p.m.
Aug. 20……. Park Place 40, St. Aloysius 26
Aug. 27……. Centreville Academy
Sept. 3……. *at Riverfield
Sept. 10……. Brookhaven Academy
Sept. 17……. *at Adams Co. Christian
Sept. 24……. Cathedral
Oct. 1……. ….*Clinton Christian
Oct. 8……. ….at Copiah Academy
Oct. 15……. ….at Greenville-St. Joe
Oct. 22……. ….*Tri-County
*MAIS District 3-4A games

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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