‘Trusting the process’— a conversation with Golden Gael Rasheed Tucker

‘The Journal’ sits down with the Gaels’ star running back

Rasheed Tucker, pictured.

Winning a football game doesn’t start on the scoreboard.

At least, not according to Rasheed Tucker—the star running back of the Gaels football team.

This week, The Journal sat down with Tucker to discuss among other things, his string of incredible performances, the football team’s transformation, and his work away from the field.

When asked about his current accolades—ranking second in the OUA with eight rushing touchdowns and 697 yards—Tucker was quick to compliment the work of the coaching staff to recruit a strong offensive line before himself.

“We worked really, really hard […] to make sure we built on offensive line that could sustain us and could allow us to be a running program. The O-line has been absolutely instrumental in that, and I believe that we have the top offensive line in the country,” he said.

“It’s been years here now, my fourth year of working hard. First and foremost, God gracing me with the ability and the talent to come out and play and perform on the football field, and those have been the driving forces.”

That same process-driven approach characterizes his preparation before the game as well.

“I’m sort of like a freak of habit […] typically, the night before a game, I’ll go through plays, draw up my plays […] I’ll wake up, I’ll read my Bible and pray […] and then go upstairs,  make myself five eggs with my bagel every day, and then I’ll come back to my room, sit down, and visualize plays before heading to the stadium.”

It’s an attitude that’s well-matched for a team whose motto is “laying bricks” and gives out the “Hardhat of the Week” award on Instagram to players who have excelled in practice.

According to Tucker, however, the team’s steely work ethic started long before their opening game away at Carleton in September.

“From the second the season ended in 2019, we got into training […] we’ve just been working hard together for two years. There was a lot of time of just grinding with no real opportunity to show all of the progress we’ve made,” he said.

“What we’ve really been trying to do is build something great with this season. Every week, every practice we talk about laying a new brick, laying a new brick, and building up a structure of something great.”

Putting in work on the field is only one part of creating a successful team, however, Tucker was also quick to highlight the team’s growing camaraderie, and how it’s informed their success in the regular season.

“I feel like this is the tightest group of brothers I’ve had since I’ve been at Queen’s,” he said.

“That’s been a key factor to our success this year.”

Even with their regular season concluded, Tucker knows there’s still more work to be done.

After all — six wins aren’t the Yates Cup.

“We built something pretty good throughout the regular season, now we are just excited to have the opportunity to go and finish it off,” he noted.

When it concerns his own future, however, Tucker is more circumspect. When asked about his plans as he prepares to enter his final year of U SPORTS eligibility, Tucker responded cautiously.

“I’m not really all too focused on that right now. The main priority is continuing to dominate and helping do whatever I can to make sure that my team does not lose any games the rest of the season […] and to worry about the future after that.”

‘Process’ also frames Tucker’s approach to his life off the field. Not only does he try to be a resource for younger players, but he also serves as Vice President of the Queen’s Black Academic Society, an organization he’s been involved with throughout his time at Queen’s.

“I approach school and I approach football the same way […] before I get out to practice, checking through my meeting notes […] the same way that I would review material prior to a lecture.” 

He also works in an outreach role with the Smith Black Business Association.

With the lights brighter and the stage bigger as the playoffs inch closer, that process will ultimately determine how far Tucker and the Queen’s Gaels will go this postseason.

Yet, recalling his favorite moment of the regular season, Tucker knows he can meet the challenge.

“We were playing Guelph, who is obviously a very, very strong contender in this league […] I remember walking off the field then and thinking, ‘we could really do something this year,’” he said.

“There is probably no team I would be afraid of us playing. We [can] battle against anyone.”

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