Above photo of Bryson Tucker from the UMHB Athletics Department
PFLUGERVILLE, Texas- Bryson Tucker’s effect on UMHB football spans past, present and future.
The former Crusader running back and defensive back stands out in the UMHB record book as the first in program history to have scored a touchdown six ways. Through his successful athletic performance facility, Sacrifice Training, he has helped several current UMHB athletes elevate their skill sets. And he will continue to impact the future of the Cru, working with more and more young athletes each year.
The Caldwell, Texas native lettered in four seasons for the Cru before pursuing a professional career in the summer of 2012. As a defensive back at UMHB, Tucker had 146 total tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss and three interceptions. On offense, he rushed for 1,230 yards with 11 touchdowns.
We caught up with Tucker to discuss his career at UMHB, how he may have become an Aggie, Sacrifice Training and much more in this Alumni Q&A.
What brought you to UMHB?
BT: “In high school, I wanted to play college football. In hindsight, I didn’t know you could go D3. I was being recruited by Texas A&M and my junior year, I tore my ACL. My senior year, halfway through the season, [A&M] told me, ‘Hey we’re going to offer another kid but if he doesn’t take the offer, the offer is yours.’ The other kid committed. Within a month or so, I started hearing about UMHB and from Coach [Joe] George. I went on a visit and I heard a lot about the culture and mindset. It was a pretty easy decision when I saw how important football was to them but also education.
“One thing UMHB does well is they are amazing at the recruiting game. They find those guys who maybe slip through the D1 cracks but have that kind of talent. Once they get them on campus for a visit, that’s it.”
Many do not know this but you hold a very unique piece of UMHB football history. You are the first and only Crusader to have ever scored a touchdown six ways. That’s pretty unique.
BT: “It is. I just happened to play on both sides of the ball my junior and senior year. In high school, I played quarterback and defensive back so I’ve always kind of been all over the place on the field. My junior year, a running back went down. I was doing kick returns and punt returns. Coach Fred walked into the locker room after playing Louisiana College and asked, ‘Do you want to play running back?’ I was like ‘Yeah…I could do that!’ After that, I was able to have some rushing touchdowns, some receiving touchdowns, threw for a touchdown and on defense I had some opportunities to score on some fumbles. I do regret though that I never had a pick six. I dropped a pick six. I was just thankful they allowed me to do it on both sides of the ball.”
Was moving over to running back a challenge for you considering you had been a full-time defensive back for your first two years with the Cru?
BT: “Well, the mindset is the same. When you’re running the ball or anytime there’s an opportunity for contact, you want to be aggressive, be the first one to punch. Honestly, I’m not trying to sound cocky, but the transition to offense was fairly easy [just because of my experience in high school and mindset].”
Talking about transition, you trained former UMHB quarterback and current pro Blake Jackson when he was switching from quarterback to wide receiver. Because you had a background in moving around on the field, did that help as you trained Blake?
BT: “Blake was so talented with the ball in hands. He’s a special player. With his athleticism, we knew he could make any transition he wanted to. The biggest thing for me when I was training Blake was him being able to hone in on his skill set and not just rely on his athletic ability. He’s so athletic he can win his routes and one-on-one matchups, but in order to reach that next level, we needed to make sure he was working on all the little things. Blake shows up to work every single day.”
Is there a specific moment, game or memory from your time at UMHB that still sticks out to you?
BT: “There’s a lot of memories. Beating Wesley for the first time in Delaware was huge, all the crazy games we had with Hardin-Simmons. But a lot of times when we talk about our memories from UMHB, it’s not even games. A lot of them are locker room stuff or practice or offseason. There was a lot of good times. It’s definitely a family. The challenges you go through together, that you face day in and day out, really do prepare you relationally and for life. Every day at UMHB is not easy.”
You had a brief professional career in the Canadian Football League. I know it was brief, but what was that experience like?
BT: “I signed and played in one preseason game for the Calgary Stampeders. It was fun. The biggest thing for me and I think for a lot of guys that come from the D3 ranks is just proving that you can play with guys who come from D1 schools and even the NFL. When I was there, initially, I was at rookie minicamp with guys who I watched play on TV at USC and Boise State and other schools. So me being in camp with them and to get signed was just affirmation to prove that I know I can play on the level with these guys.”
You are the founder of Sacrifice Training, a very successful athletic performance facility in nearby Pflugerville. Was starting this always a goal of yours?
BT: “When I was in college, my goal was to go play professionally for a while and then open an athletic performance facility. It’s always been a goal of mine. I actually came up with the logo while I was at UMHB. I didn’t put it to work until later on, but I designed it there. A quick background on it, football is very important to me, but I’m a Christian and I understand that sometimes things don’t always go your way. The logo is basically me putting a football up to God saying ‘I want to play football but I’m willing to sacrifice the game for whatever you want me to do.’ That’s the idea behind Sacrifice Training and [our tagline] ‘What are you willing to sacrifice to be great?’ After football broke up with me before I was ready to break up with it, I started training while I was still trying to pursue the game. It just took off. We were renting a space and then I bought some property in Pflugerville, built a facility and things have really taken off for the best. I’m very thankful and blessed.”
What has been your favorite part of working with so many athletes at Sacrifce Training?
BT: “Just being able to give them something we didn’t have and that’s just access to the information and the tools to become the best athlete that you can be. Now, what comes along with that is just being a better person as these kids grow, but also elevating their athletic ability to reach whatever goals they have, whether it be D1, D2 or D3. Then you start seeing kids get drafted. That’s huge. We had our first draft pick this last year with Ta’Quon Graham out of the University of Texas, who is from Temple. It’s great to see the kids’ dreams come true and play a small part in that.”
How cool is it to see a guy like Ta’Quon get drafted on the national stage and know you played a role in that success?
BT: “It’s very cool. Just building that relationship with them and building that trust. These athletes have a lot of choices and opportunities to work with anyone they want. So if someone chooses to come to you and really trusts your opinion and your expertise on what they should do, we don’t take that lightly.”