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Charlotte 49ers Player Focus: Victor Tucker

The Miami native and former Carol City standout is making a name for himself in the Queen City

Marshall v Charlotte Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

Victor Tucker officially became a 49er in February of 2017 and has since made a name for himself while playing a major role in the program’s first winning season. After notching a C-USA best, five 100-yard receiving games in 2019, the redshirt sophomore is well on his way to shattering the record book and etching his name into the 49ers history.

The 5-11 wide receiver flew under the radar in high school playing for the Carol City Chiefs in Miami Gardens, Florida, and with some of the bigger schools in Florida passing over the 3-star prospect, he picked the Queen City to be his home for the next four years.

Similar to Tucker, quarterback Chris Reynolds was overlooked coming out of high school, and that “chip on the shoulder” mentality is one that drives the Gold Standard mantra.

“I just think it’s something that you can’t measure. People look at Chris’s height and critique his intangibles, but you can’t measure a guy’s heart,” Tucker said.

“When it’s the fourth quarter, we don’t care about how tall you are, how many stars you had coming out of high school, or how highly recruited you were. We just want to win, and that’s one thing I can say about me and Chris. When we look at each other in the fourth quarter, we only expect to win and make those big plays. I think in return, some of the guys around us are starting to pick up on it, and I think that’s probably one of the biggest reasons we had so much success last season.”

The 49ers overcame a 14-point fourth quarter deficit to beat North Texas. Tucker just wanted it more.
Credit: Sam Roberts - Charlotte Football

Tucker’s numbers dipped as controversy struck when Reynolds exited with injury in week 6 of the 2018 season, but with a full season of work in 2019 and two years of eligibility remaining, this combo has all the tools to continue staking its claim in Charlotte 49ers’ history.

Victor served a redshirt season in 2017 where he gained valuable experience working with the scout team before breaking out and earning C-USA’s All-Freshman team honors while leading the 49ers receiving corps in 2018. According to Pro Football Focus, Tucker was the highest-graded wideout in C-USA on third and fourth downs, and the clip that follows will show you a glimpse of why that is the case.

Highlights: Victor Tucker hauls in TD for Charlotte

No helmet. No problem. What a TD catch!

Posted by Stadium on Saturday, November 23, 2019

The 2019 season was one that Victor and the 49ers won’t soon forget, as Charlotte went 7-6 and appeared in the first bowl game in program history. Tucker led the team with 909 yards and 7 touchdowns, both of which broke FBS records for the 49ers program.

He became the go-to target in the fourth quarter as he averaged 20.1 yards per catch while recording four of his seven touchdowns when it mattered most. Tucker became an instant fan favorite as he hauled in two of the biggest touchdowns in program history. The first, against North Texas, sparked a five-game win streak, and the second secured bowl eligibility with a senior day victory over Marshall.

He scored the only touchdown for the 49ers in the Bahamas Bowl and has now solidified a reputation for himself as one of the best receivers in the conference. Tucker is a tough guard, with the speed to burn you deep and the route running ability to find the holes in the defense.

Tucker caught 52 passes in 2019, which was two less than his freshman year, but totaled 197 more receiving yards and 5 more touchdowns in his sophomore season.

There’s a lot to be excited about around this 49ers program, and two more seasons with the Reynolds-Tucker connection could spell trouble for the rest of C-USA.

Victor sat down with UDD last week.

HB: Who was your favorite player growing up?

Victor Tucker: Amari Cooper. He was a guy that was from my area, and he had just graduated not long before I did. He was someone I grew up watching and worked to model my game after.

Washington Redskins v Dallas Cowboys
Amari Cooper attended Miami Northwestern high school, the rival of Victor Tucker’s Carol City Chiefs. Cooper graduated in 2012, the year before Tucker started high school. There have been some historic battles between the two schools, to say the least.
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

HB: During your senior year of High School, Carol City beat Northwestern 34-27 in the playoffs to avenge their loss from earlier in the season. You caught the go-ahead touchdown with 20 seconds remaining, you have a knack for that kind of thing, don’t you?

Victor Tucker: It was probably the biggest game we played that whole season. The game was really back and forth, a thriller to say the least. Outside of the North Texas game, that is another game that really sticks out to me. I was just happy that I was able to be the person to step up.

HB: Charlotte was your only FBS offer coming out of high school, how did it feel being passed over by the Florida schools?

Victor Tucker: It was tough. It felt like they were telling me I wasn’t good enough, even though I felt like I was better than some of the guys that were recruited in front of me - but I never let that get to me too much. It was definitely disappointing to not be accepted by those schools in your home town.

HB: Brad Lambert and his staff recruited you in 2016. What are some of the differences now with Healy?

Victor Tucker: No disrespect to Coach Lambert, but when was here he didn’t really like guys being themselves and really enjoying the time they were here - it felt like things were kind of strict, and like he wanted everyone to conform to one image of how he saw a Charlotte football player being. I just appreciate Coach Healy because he understands that everyone isn’t the same, and he gives guys the freedom to be themselves, but still conform to what his version of a Charlotte football player should be. I really enjoy Coach Healy a lot.

HB: Your numbers dipped after Reynolds went down in week 6 of 2018. How has it been to have a consistent QB, and what do you think of the connection with Chris going forward?

Victor Tucker: I think it has helped a lot. We came in together and we were on scout team, but just having that in-game experience with him at QB showed each other how we react in certain situations. Being on the same page with each other is huge for this upcoming season, and I think we have a great foundation to build on. It should only get better from here, but it’s been a lot of fun I must admit.

HB: Who’s the toughest corner you’ve played against, and why?

Victor Tucker: Tae Hayes - he played at App. State and plays for the Dolphins now. He was a fourth or fifth-year senior, and just by his game, you could tell he was a veteran. When we lined up it was like a chess match every play, and I really enjoyed that. I really learned a lot from that guy.

Tucker (9) had 4 catches for 33 yards with Hayes (18) in coverage during the 2018 matchup with the Mountaineers.
Photo Credit: Jonathon Aguallo / Aguallo Studios

HB: Mark Carney was just promoted to offensive coordinator, how are you feeling about the loss of Alex Atkins and the new promotion?

Victor Tucker: Starting with Atkins - Coach Atkins was a great extension of Coach Healy. He really set the tone as an offense and he brought the energy for the new Charlotte. He brought a whole different feel to the offense by showing us that he believed in us, and that helped us believe in ourselves. Coach Carney is a great addition, and we as players felt like we have built a great foundation, and nobody wanted to change because we have changed offensive coordinators every year since my freshman season. We wanted something consistent that we could build on, and thankfully Coach Healy decided to move forward with Coach Carney as OC - I think it will be great. He did a lot of little things that really helped me out throughout the year, so I’m really fired up about him being the OC.

HB: Lastly, tell me about the Bahamas Bowl experience

Victor Tucker: Man - that experience was one that I will never forget. I know we lost, but there was so much that I took from that trip. That’s something that will forever change my life, and I think as a team we have only grown from it. Even though it didn’t go how we wanted, we knew what we had to do and we are going to keep that same mentality and just keep pressing forward.