Avery Tucker is one of the best players from the Tampa, Florida area in the Class of 2024.
The 5-foot-5, 143-pound Tucker, who attends Thurgood Marshall Middle School, is a versatile player that works as a running back, linebacker and defensive end.
Tucker has played for these teams so far: Gibbs Gladiators, Lakewood Spartans, Silver Raiders and No Limit Lions.
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No matter the opponent, on each snap Tucker is determined to give it his all.
Tucker is going all out.
The motor is always at full throttle whenever Tucker steps between the lines.
“My mindset is that my team is counting on me so I need to do my job and make a play,” Tucker said. “I want to make my opponent have to grind for anything they get.”
Tucker has great passion and energy whenever he’s on the gridiron. Tucker tells why he enjoys the game of football so much.
“The thing I love most about playing football is hitting people and not getting in trouble for it,” Tucker said. “I love to make big plays and make everyone in the crowd cheer and clap.”
Tucker has learned many valuable lessons from playing football that he applies to his everyday life.
The main one is applying perspective to all situations.
“Football has taught me so much about life,” Tucker said. “Playing football taught me to always be alert and aware of what’s around you. It has taught me to have good instincts.”
Tucker recalls his favorite football memory.
“I don’t have one favorite memory of playing football,” Tucker said. “I just enjoy being able to play the game I love with my teammates.”
Kenneth Watson is in his first season coaching Tucker with the Northeast Bandits organization.
Watson explains the best parts of Tucker’s game.
“The best part of AJ’s game is his physicality. He is one of if not the most physical player I've ever coached. When he hits you, you will definitely know he's not playing no games,” Watson said. “At linebacker I love his ability to dissect a play and when he sees it he reacts in a split second and can run from sideline to sideline. At running back, his brute strength and force is just simply no match for any 12-year-old. He comes downhill and if you’re in the way then you’re getting ran over. That simple.”
Tucker takes his role as one of the leaders on the team very seriously. Tucker makes sure he’s a daily positive influence on his peers.
“I try to keep the vibes good and try to not let anyone get discouraged,” Tucker said. “I try to encourage my teammates as much as I can.”
Watson adds that Tucker is one of those consummate teammates that every squad needs to be successful.
“AJ is first in every drill, be it a hitting drill or running drill he gets up front. Then the one thing that every coach loves is that he get on the field and lead by example,” Watson said. “He simply makes plays on both sides of the ball.”
Tucker is appreciative of having amazing male role models that are supportive.
“My coaches have helped make me a better player and person,” Tucker said. “They have taught me if things don’t go your way you have to be resilient. You have to have patience.”
Watson is an advocate of Tucker’s capabilities.
‘We are early in the season and he's already got an interceptions, a couple of QB sacks and tackle for losses and this is in one game,” Watson said.
In addition to making clutch plays, Tucker also has a high level of football IQ as well.
Tucker has excellent football awareness that puts him in position to thrive.
“He can read a play and get to the ball faster than any linebacker in the league. He also has the ability to drop in zone coverage and read the QB’s eyes to find out where the ball is going,” Watson said. “But his motor is unmatched, that's what you look for in a linebacker.”
Tucker is on the grind to perfect and hone his craft in any way possible.
“He's one of our leaders on the team. That alone speaks for his work ethic,” Watson said. “He's always got an upbeat attitude and is a great leader for the team.”
Watson explains why he compares Tucker to this player.
“He reminds me of Ray Lewis. Hands down,” Watson said. “Because when AJ hits you believe me you will know it.”
Meanwhile, Tucker patterns his play after this standout.
“I look up to Marshawn Lynch,” Tucker said. “Because he came from nothing and made it to the pros as Beast Mode.”
Tucker is constantly striving for greatness in everything that he does.
“On and off the field my goals are to stay true to myself and not let anyone change me,” Tucker said. “I want to make my family proud of me in all that I do as a player and a person.”
Before the pros, Tucker dreams of being the next great Stanford Cardinal.
“I like their law program and they have a great football tradition,” Tucker said. “I would love to play on the West Coast.”
Tucker lists history as his favorite subject in school.
“I really like to learn about my ancestors,” Tucker said. “It’s a very fun and interesting subject to me.”
Watson outlines the next areas of improvement for Tucker.
“AJ has minimal flaws but if anything he can work on is just making sure he gets better on a daily basis,” Watson said.
Watson believes the sky is the limit as long as Tucker continues to stay hungry.
“AJ has unlimited potential. His work ethos and drive to be the best is unmatched,” Watson said. “He wants to be the leader and when you have a player like that you truly have a special one. He has the will and the heart to realize all of that potential and make his dreams a reality.”
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