1 February 2012
He will admit that he was barely 200 pounds.
When Giants defensive end Justin Tuck chose the University of Notre Dame as a high school senior he was a rail-then skill position player that had the body nowhere near a future Pro Bowler.
Tuck made the most of a Division I weight room and credited much of his physical development to former Notre Dame Strength and Conditioning Coach Mickey Marotti.
“Mickey Marotti called me his ‘ball of clay’ when I got there. He did a great job of just bulking me up for the position,” Tuck said. “In high school, I was more of a wide receiver/tight end/outside linebacker type and within a summer I gained 40 pounds of muscle.”
“If you ask him he had a lot of fun creating what I am today. But I knew to play this position I had to make a decision and go at it as hard as I could in the weight room, making sure I eat the right things. He’s a lot of the reason why I’ve been successful.”
Setting a pair of school records in sacks (24.5) and tackles behind the line of scrimmage (43), Tuck was a third round draft pick by the New York Giants in 2004.
While in high school in Alabama, Tuck won a pair of basketball state championships.
His athleticism has carried over to the football field as the versatile defensive lineman is gunning for his second Super Bowl ring.
The 2012 Super Bowl is a rematch of 2008 and Tuck’s Giants hope to have the same mindset they had four years ago whether favored or not.
“We didn’t really buy into all the underdog stuff last time,” Tuck said. “We knew it was there, and we knew nobody was giving us a shot, but we always believed in ourselves. It’s still the same here.”
“I hope to say it would be the same if we were favored or not, that we believe in our ourselves. We never really cared what other people outside of those guys in that locker room or our owners or our coaching staff has said anyway.”
As Tuck is nearing the end to his seventh season in the NFL, he has grown into a 275-pound frame and into one of the leaders of the Giants.
His return to the Midwest would be fitting if he could stir up some of the same magic he had just a few hours north under the Golden Dome.
“It’s good to be back close to home I guess,” Tuck said. “I know that I have a lot of support in Indiana. Hopefully I can wake up some echoes this week.”
Posted by: Kevin Bowen
Posted in Colts Blog