The Intercollegiate Student Magazine

Grant Tucker, USC Offensive Line

Grant Tucker in the action

What led you to play for the USC football team?

In high school, I received a handful of offers from some D1 schools and a couple of D2 schools, but I decided not to take those and enroll in USC as a regular student. During my sophomore year, I worked for the USC football team and made connections with the coaches and staff who managed the recruiting process. This helped me get the opportunity to join the team. Since I had always dreamed of playing college football, I knew I couldn’t pass on the offer.

Over the last few years, USC students lacked interest in your football program. This seemed to change at the start of the 2022 off-season when USC brought in Lincoln Riley, the former Head Coach of Oklahoma, and Caleb Williams, a transfer Quarterback. How have these new additions affected fan interest?

Just last year, when fans came to games, they weren’t expecting USC to be a dominant team. You’d see many fans leaving the game at halftime and many fans not even showing up. Now, since the team is playing better, there is way more excitement. The whole campus feels upbeat since people have something to look forward to. When you walk around before a home game, everyone is decked out in USC merch. It’s been incredible to see.

In 2024, USC will move from the PAC-12 to the BIG 10. How will this affect USC’s playstyle?

I don’t think USC will change that much in terms of our playstyle. Our coach likes to focus on offense, and we’ll continue to try and put up 50 points a game. Defensively, we’ll continue to generate sacks and turnovers. The BIG-10 loves to recruit the offensive line and play physical; basically, it’s broaden the trenches. USC has done a great job recruiting for the offensive line — I think we have five commits right now for next year. We’ll continue to hammer down on recruiting a solid offensive and defensive line.

What motivates you to continue practicing, especially as a player who’s largely out of the spotlight?

It’s all about staying intrinsically motivated since, as a walk-on, you’re not given the monetary benefit of getting a scholarship or press coverage. You have to play because of your own values. It differs for everyone, but I practice simply because I love football.

As for seeing the field, I know it’s an uphill battle for a walk-on. But, at the end of the day, the coaches pick the best players to play. I will continue to work in the weight room, understand the playbook and understand my role. If I do that, I will see myself improve, and I trust that the hard work will translate into playing time.

Could you walk me through your schedule and how you find a work-life balance?

It’s been tough. I juggle practice with lifting sessions, film sessions in the morning, and then there’s, of course, school. I’m also involved with other organizations on campus since I still need to focus on building a career after college. The days can get long, but I think it’s all worth it because I am living out my dream. In high school, I would see athletes post absolutely brutal day-to-day schedules. They showed that it’s possible, and that’s given me the motivation to do it myself.

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