With GHSA reclassification on the table earlier this year, Tucker opted to move up once again after winning two titles — 2008 and 2011 — in Class AAAA.
Even though Tucker had 16 players sign scholarships this past February, the Tigers still have enough talent stepping on the field in 2014.
“We lost a lot,” Tucker coach Bryan Lamar said. “Guys have been working extremely hard in the offseason, getting better and trying to get back to the fundamentals of blocking and tackling.”
Leading the Tigers’ talent pool is 6-foot-3, 272-pound defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter. He is rated a four-star athlete by www.rivals.com and has already verbally committed to Alabama.
“He is one of the top defensive tackle prospects in the country,” Lamar said during DeKalb County Football Media Day.
Other major recruits on the defensive side of the ball are Duke Shelley (defensive back), Elijah Sullivan (linebacker), Maurice Williams (LB) and Dre Jackson (DB). Shelley, who is also considered a four-star athlete, had 44 tackles and six interceptions — three were returned for touchdowns. He also had four touchdowns on kickoff returns, one on a punt return and three on offense.
Sullivan, who verbally committed to Auburn, had 45 tackles — nine for loss — and eight sacks last season. On offense, he rushed for 694 yards and 11 TDs. Sandy Creek transfer Delvin Weems, who verbally committed to Marshall, will be joining Sullivan in the back field. Last season, Weems rushed for 1,158 yards and 18 touchdowns with a 9.19 yards per carry average.
Before the Tigers jump into their five-game region schedule — four less games than last season — they open the season with Norcross, the Class AAAAAA defending champions, at McEachern in the Corky Kell Classic.
“It’s a good opportunity and also a tremendous challenge,” Lamar said. “It’s good exposure for the school and good experience for the kids to play a team like Norcross, which is one of the top teams in the United States, not just Georgia.”