JS - How did you become a follower of Christ?
CH - I began at a younger age with Bible school and church because my parents encouraged me to go. As i got older I got close with God when I discovered my talents and gifts in sports and I began to pursue God more. I asked Christ to be my Savior one day after Bible Study (I was about 13) after being challenged to decide if I believed that Jesus died on the cross for my sins/
JS - How did that impact how you looked at sports?
CH - Not much at first because either I wasn't that good or I didnt see the relevance of God. When I was in 6th grade I was cut by the basketball team and that really hurt me. I began needing more. After I started experiencing success and adversity in high school I was looking for where to turn....especially after the Ravenna game my senior yr.
There were scouts to watch me play and they blew us out, I had four turnovers, I was losing my cool and afterward I felt I had lost my chance at college scholarships.
After the game I went to your house (JS) and I learned that no matter how bad I felt, and how many people were disappointed, that I needed to trust what God was doing and that waking up the next day was a blessing in itself. As the season went along I saw how God wasn't limited and I had another opportunity for a scholarship. Looking back at it now I can see how it set me up for handling better opportunities and challenges that I have had in life.
JS - I got to ask the tough question though - tell me about the fumble?
CH - (He laughs). It was against Garrettsville. We had a chance to get into the playoffs pretty much for sure if we won. We were at midfield in a tie game with 10 seconds left in regulation so coach was giving me a chance to win the game before overtime.
I dropped back like normal, avoided pass rush from my backside like normal, and lost control of the ball. Running back to get the ball at about the 25, everyone started scrambling and knocking the ball backwards until it went all the way into the endzone. We recovered it ....but for a safety.....and a loss. We lost our chance for the playoffs.
Everytime we played them after that in basketball the fans would yell "Safety" and make the sign for it. Fortunately though I had some good games against them - including 33 one game. Making some "3"s" gave me a chance to join them in making the "safety" sign (instead of the "3" field goal signal)
JS - Why did you leave U. of California (Pa)?
CH - They gave me a full scholarship to play QB and then moved me around a number of different positions and still I wasn't playing. They determined I wasn't good enough to play at any of the positions that I had been gifted at (QB or WR). They wouldn't even let me play scout team QB. It was carrying over to my off -the- field life where I wasn't going to church or finding the right people to be around.
The day before I had to leave for Christmas break, I had a dream that night that I had received my release papers and the papers said that I was freed to go to any school I wanted BUT the U. of Cal. So when I met with the coach the next day to share my decision, I felt that I had been encouraged to take the step of faith and at least try to find another school. I probably wouldn't have done it otherwise.
So in spite of a lot of people (family, John, friends) discouraging me to transfer, I decided to trust God in finding another school because I was so miserable.
JS - How did you find another college?
CH - I didn't!! They found me! They had called my high school coach, John Arlesic, for another player (Chris Williams). They described the kind of QB they were looking for as well and Coach told them that I had just been given my release since I had asked coach to let colleges know I was available. I had talked to Saginaw Valley and Lake Erie College but neither were looking to give me a chance to start at QB. Even though it was in South Dakota, I wanted a team that WANTED to see what I could do at QB.
The determining factor came during my visit, when sitting down talking with Coach Ryan Grubb. I looked at his desk and saw his (and all the other coaches) "Coach's Holy Bible". That's what sold me. That showed me that at the end of the day, I was going to have a chance to play for coaches who were men of God and were trying to use that to help their players. It represented strength, love and trust. That was what I needed most, men associated with Christ.
JS - What happened then at Sioux Falls?
CH - I earned a chance to play QB during my redshirt soph year, and then they would take it away. I was starting to have second thots about being there. I began to let football control my happiness.
Eventually I won the QB job. I was kind of shaky the first two games so they made a QB change and benched me. Meanwhile I had torn my meniscus and didn't tell anyone. The starter got hurt against McNeese and then I was needed to fill in and it went back and forth like that all season depending on his health - until the last game.
Against the U. of N.Dakota I played WR and TE (Hybrid), scored the first TD, had 6 catches for about 75 yards. Then after the season I had the knee surgery to fix the meniscus.
My junior, was my "coming out year". I made the full time switch to receiver and was All-Conference, Academic All-American, led the conference in receptions, first downs, and tied for TD's. My team even featured my jersey as the one marketed. Against Augustana (our rival), I was also blessed with the game winning catch for a touchdown. God couldn't draw up a better season for me.
JS - What challenges did you have your Sr year?
CH - I was prepared for a great year and to get noticed for an eventual career in either the NFL or CFL. I was a pre-season All-American and the pre-season pick for conference offensive player of the year. But the team was young and we were struggling for wins. The offense was changed to be more run-oriented and they weren't really looking to pass the ball to me and they were getting hurt. Then in the third game, I was hurt when I took a helmet to the knee. When it swelled the next day I knew the knee was damaged. I had to choose surgery and the end of my season and career (since i was a redshirt sr), or get surgery and begin rehab to try to get ready for pro tryouts - selfishly, OR..... I could suck it up and unselfishly just play injured.
So i decided to take some precautions and just try to lead and help the team by finding a way to play while injured. Incredibly, due to injuries to the QB's, I was needed to play against Concordia that very next game (game 4). I had had NO reps at QB since my sophomore year at that point.
That was the game that I passed for 407 yds and 4 TD's. It was the first time a QB had thrown for 400 yards for Sioux Falls in 7 years. God apparently prepared me for that moment by learning other positions. It seemed much easier. But I couldn't have done that earlier in my career. It erased all the bad times and doubts I had ever had at QB and showed that I DID have the ability at that position. He prepared me for that moment but I really wasn't trained for that moment - it was really all God.
I finished the year at QB, sometimes playing both positions in the same game depending on what the team needed. I threw for over a 1000 yds and 7 TD's in 5 games. During senior night against the #1 team in the nation, I started at QB and then asked coach to move me to receiver where I caught about 10 passes for over 100 yards but we still lost. But it was my most memorable game at receiver.
At seasons end, for the first time in conference history and I believe the first time in recent college history, I was named all-conference at two offensive positions - first team receiver and 2nd team QB.
JS - But what about your knee?
CH - After the season I had micro-fracture surgery - one of the worst knee surgeries you can have. It required a year's rehab. I had to miss all the pro workouts after my senior year. The opportunity came to move to Phoenix to train and rehab so I moved there for the past two years. Finally getting healthy allowed me in March to have a pro day back at Sioux Falls U. Since then I've been offered a chance to play at least one more time for the USA football team in the IFAF World Championship.
Even better, I found out the USA team will train in Akron and play the tournament in Canton (it was previously in Austria and Japan). The games only take place once every four years. So in the words of my mom, I get the chance that I get to play again back where it all started, which is beyond any words that I can use to express.
JS - Where are you at with God now?
CH - I know that He has blessed me and taken care of me with a great job and a degree and another opportunity to play. However, He keeps testing my faith through sport. I pray everyday, do my devotional every day, I'm forever grateful for what He has already given me, and He is the reason I have the life I have.
JS - How much has your family been a part of your success?
CH - They have been very supportive. They have given me everything I need to succeed. My younger brothers (jared and Braden Tucker) are real supportive and I want to help them be faithful to God and live life right. My dad (Ron Tucker) is actually my "stepfather" but I consider him my real dad because he has raised me like his own almost my whole life. I love my mom and dad.
JS - What advice do you have for your brothers and younger friends back home?
CH - Keep God first. I regret not doing that more. Keep believing in your dreams, you can do everything you want to do. But you got to keep your faith and stay faithful to Him.
2015 USA FB Team - IFAF Worlds Gold Medalist
University of Sioux Falls (2014)
All Conference Quarterback
All Conference Receiver
Honor Student (Pre-Med)
Streetsboro HS (Ohio)
Arena Football (2015-16)
Sioux Falls Storm (IFL)
USA Football Team - World Championships (2015)
COMBINE WORKOUT STATS (2015)
*Played all of 2013 with knee injury requiring Microfracture surgery after the season.
University of Sioux Falls
U. of California (Pa.)