GREENWICH, Conn. Greenwichs Tucker Stafford has seen highs and lows with the Georgetown University football team and the program from inside and out. On Saturday, the senior makes his final appearance with the Hoyas in the region when they play Fordham in New York City.
It has been a pretty wild ride, said Stafford, a redshirt senior who started his career as a quarterback at Georgetown but later switched to tight end. Stafford was part of a team that went 2-8 in 2008 and turned it around to go 8-3 last year. Every year we come and work our hardest. Weve made some coaching changes and adjustments, and our mentality really changed. Were trying to continue to grow and establish ourselves as one of the top teams.
Stafford came to Georgetown (3-2 entering Saturdays game) after playing on two state championship teams for Greenwich High. He was the quarterback for the 2007 squad that beat Shelton, 28-14, in the Class LL title game. Stafford threw for 1,662 yards and 12 touchdowns that year, while also rushing for 359 yards and five touchdowns.
He planned to continue playing quarterback at Georgetown, but Stafford struggled to crack the lineup and moved to tight end in 2010. He played in 10 games last year, starting seven. He led tight ends in catches with 10. Stafford also sat out one year as a redshirt.
I wanted to get on the field, said Stafford, who now stands 6-6 and weighs 262 pounds, talking about the move to tight end. He has put on nearly 30 pounds since his high school days. We didnt have a backup at tight end. I talked to the offensive coordinator and told him I wanted to establish myself on the field. From there, I just kept going with it. Ive been playing it for two years now, and Ive fallen in love with it. Im happy doing it, and it feels good to be on the field.
Stafford said he hadnt played the position since he was with the Putnam Generals in the Greenwich Youth Football League. But having played quarterback, he knew the offense the Hoyas were trying to establish.
I could find seams that other receivers may not, Stafford said. I think it helped that I played quarterback. I think mentally I was able to take out my frustrations by hitting people instead of being hit. It was definitely different. My dad played quarterback, my brother plays quarterback. But I love being a tight end now. It has been a great experience.
Stafford has continued to adapt to the position. He has seven receptions this season in the Hoyas spread offense, one of 12 players who has caught a pass in the spread offense.
More importantly, Stafford has been part of building a winner with the Hoyas. Under coach Kevin Kelly, who started at Georgetown in 2006, the program has made upward strides. Everybody bought into what coach Kelly was trying to accomplish, Stafford said. It has worked out well. Weve had a good run.
Staffords looking forward to his final homecoming Saturday. Many friends and family have promised to make the trip. Theres still a lot of football afterward, including five straight games against Patriot Conference opponents. All in all, even if Staffords career hasnt gone as planned, it has gone well.
Its been a ride, Stafford said. I wouldnt change a thing. I think Ive grown as a person and a player. Its been great to see the team evolve. When I came here, football was a diamond in the rough, and it was more widely known as just a basketball school. I think weve show were a good football team, too.
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