Charlotte Catholic High football player Tucker Windle grew up a big Furman fan.
“I love Furman and my dream was to go there and try to walk on and maybe get a scholarship that way,” Windle said Saturday.
By the end of his junior year, when Windle had grown to 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, he started getting serious college attention as a linebacker recruit. He received offers from Duke, Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and N.C. State.
Then, he got a surprise offer from Virginia.
Windle's father, Al, played linebacker for the Cavaliers and graduated from the Charlottesville school in 1978.
Tucker Windle committed to Virginia and will play the same position, linebacker, that his father did.
“I never in my dreams thought I'd get something like this,” Windle said. “I've always been a Virginia fan, too. They have an awesome academic reputation and me being at the same place my dad went and playing the same position is really special.”
National recruiting Web site scout.com ranks Windle as the nation's 29th-best strong-side linebacker among senior recruits. He's the No. 12 overall recruit in an unusually strong year for North Carolina, which has four top-100 national prospects, according to scout.
Windle has played tight end and linebacker most of his high school career at Catholic, which has reached the state championship game in all three of his years there. The Cougars won the 3AA state championship in Windle's freshman season.
This year, coaches moved him to halfback and took him out of his usual defensive position much of the time. He plays situational defense now and had one tackle in Friday's 14-10 loss to Charlotte Country Day.
Windle had two carries for 3 yards, and five catches for 78 yards, many times catching high balls over the middle around two or three defenders.
“Moving to halfback in our wing-T offense requires more running than what I was used to at tight end,” Windle said. “I have asthma and it's no excuse, but I'm pretty tired sometimes.”
He said he cannot believe how his high school career and his college future have worked out.
“A year ago, I was going on visits to check on App State and Furman and Wofford,” Windle said. “When all these Division I coaches started calling me, I started praying to God and thanking Him for what He's blessed me with. It's amazing.”
Langston Wertz Jr: 704-358-5133