Notre Dame’s Cam Tucker in top tier of state’s running backs

WEST HAVEN >> Notre Dame-West Haven football coach Tom Marcucci has often said Cam Tucker is just as good as any running back in the state.

The veteran coach may be biased toward his athlete, but Tucker’s talent is apparent to anyone who has seen the 5-foot-10, 203-pound senior in action.“Tucker is as good a back as there is around,” Marcucci said. “He doesn’t get any of the hype, but he’s tough and as good as they come.”

While Tucker doesn’t possess the speed of Hillhouse senior Harold Cooper or the shiftiness of Ansonia back Arkeel Newsome or West Haven’s Ervin Philips, who have orally committed to play at UConn and Syracuse, respectively, Tucker is just as dominant on the gridiron.

During his career, Tucker has been a human wrecking ball, using his combination of power and speed to run through, and around, opponents. A triple threat, Tucker can run, catch and block.

“I just think he’s a complete back,” Marcucci said. “He can run inside, he can run outside, he can catch, he can block; he can do everything. His speed is good, it’s above-average. He’s not a burner, he doesn’t fly, but when he’s got the ball, I haven’t seen too many people catch him. When he breaks it, he breaks it.”

In two games this season, Tucker has rushed for 326 yards and six touchdowns. He ran for over 200 yards and four scores in a loss to St. Joseph in Week 1.

“I heard how good he was and he lived up to what we heard about him,” St. Joseph coach Joe Della Vecchia said following that contest.

A three-year starter, Tucker has career totals of 325 carries for 2,613 yards and 30 touchdowns entering Friday night’s game against Fairfield Prep. Kickoff is set for 7 at Veterans Field in West Haven.

As a sophomore, Tucker was used primarily as a blocking back for seniors Amihr Bess and Javon Grey. Still, Tucker gained 590 yards, scored five times and gained valuable experience.

“That was very much a learning experience, really,” Tucker said. “I was kind of thrown into the fire sophomore year. I wasn’t expecting to play varsity, but I was thrown in there and had to go out and do what I could and play to the best of my ability.”

Last season, Notre Dame suffered through a 4-6 campaign that saw injuries to several key starters. Tucker was the one constant. He rushed for 1,697 yards and 19 touchdowns and kept the Green Knights in every game.

“Last year we weren’t real good and he took the brunt of the beating,” Marcucci said. “He’s just a quiet, hard-nosed kid. He’s just a quality back.”

Marcucci said Albany and New Hampshire have expressed interest in Tucker, although the process of Tucker finding a home for next year is far from over.

“I think he’s a I-AA back because he can do so many things, plus he can play defense,” Marcucci said. “He’s a football player, he’s a very good football player. I think Tuck will get his offers. He’s definitely going to play in college.”

Before heading off to college, Tucker hopes to end his career with a successful senior season. The Green Knights have the talent to compete for a state playoff berth, although the schedule is daunting. After Prep, Notre Dame’s remaining eight games include meetings against SCC powers Hand, West Haven and Xavier, and a non-league tilt with Ridgefield.

“I think we can make the playoffs,” Tucker said. “We can definitely upset some teams. People don’t think we’re that good. I think we’re very good. We just have to play as a team; everyone has to tune in during practice. We just have to play as a unit and we can be good.”

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