Wyatt Tucker occasionally misses playing in the trenches.
Then he remembers what got him here.
“All my best friends played O-line (at Chino Hills High). Everyone on there was my group of friends,” said Tucker, Hawaii’s successor to four-year veteran Noah Borden at long snapper. “But I was the smallest out of all of them by four inches. … I played center so I was right in the middle. We came in like a “V.” I knew I was going to be undersized after that no matter where I went, because that was only high school. Long snapping was my ticket out of there.”
Tucker is a squat 5 feet 10 and 205 pounds. He redshirted last season upon transferring from Division III Whittier (Calif.) College, where he appeared in four games as a true freshman.
Now he’s got three years to play three seasons at the Division I level. This fall was actually his first camp at UH; he joined following that last year.
— Hawaii Warrior World (@hawaiiwworld) August 22, 2019
He and Australian specialists Stan Gaudion and Ryan Meskell (“I’m a minority out here,” he quipped) usually conduct their own practice drills on the side when they’re not required for full team activities. Of course, the linemen are not far away.
“Sometimes, you miss being down (in the trenches),” Tucker said. “Specialists are considered not real football players, that kind of thing. But when you take on a specialist mind-set and you know that your role is just as important as everyone else’s, you start to kind of love what you do out here. You get to sit back and watch everything form, and then you also get to do your own thing. So that’s the nice part about it.”
Columnist Ferd Lewis wrote about Tucker carrying on UH’s legacy of excellent long snappers earlier in fall camp.
His specialist teammates were impressed by his summer work ethic preparing for the snapper job leading into fall camp, while working a regular job all the while.
“He’s such a hard worker. He hasn’t put a wrong foot yet. He’s very consistent, and as kickers and punters that’s all we can ask for,” the senior kicker Meskell told Hawaii Warrior World’s Dave Reardon.
Redshirting last season allowed Tucker to apprentice under two players ahead of him, Borden and Shawn McCarthy. Both were in their final season.
“Knowing both of them were seniors, it kind of fit the spot, that if I knew I was going to be not playing a season, I might as well get kind of read into the job,” Tucker said.
“I think I picked up a couple new form things, just tips and tricks. Just one, how to practice as a specialist. I came from a place where I, my last school, we didn’t do much. And here we grind just like everyone else. So it definitely gave me a new way to practice, kind of just a new attitude to attacking practice as well.”
The first time Hawaii lines up a kick or punt against Arizona on Saturday at Aloha Stadium, he’ll show everybody what he’s learned.