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2023 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Tucker Kraft, TE, South Dakota State University

Tucker Kraft is one of the top-rated tight ends in the country out of South Dakota State University and he recently sat down with Draft Diamonds
Tucker Kraft is one of the top-rated tight ends in the country out of South Dakota State University and he recently sat down with Draft Diamonds writer Justin Berendzen.
  • Name: Tucker Kraft
  • Position: TE
  • College: South Dakota State University
  • Height: 6’5″
  • Weight: 255 lbs
  • Twitter: @TuckerKraft
  • Instagram: @kraft_85

What made you decide you wanted to be a football player?

I knew I wanted to be a football player after my junior year of high school. Originally I thought I could be a division 2 or NAIA basketball player. After my junior year I ended up going to a some camps and was first offered by South Dakota State and committee. My brothers and my late father also had a large role in my participation of football.

What are your favorite moments from your football life?

I’d say being able to share the field with my two younger cousins when I was in high school. Aside from being on the field, my favorite moments revolve around my family. Being able to see loved ones in the stands and after the games take me home. Win or lose they love me for the person under the jersey.

What sets you apart from other tight ends?

My ability to run after the catch and finish at the line of scrimmage. Tight ends are separated by talent in their ability to run and catch, however I believe that the most physical and tactical part of the game revolves around the trenches.

What type of energy do you bring onto the football field?

At the end of the day, the game of football is still a game. It’s not forever. I like to get loose and have fun with the boys all while being a bruiser.

If you could hang out with any football player past or present for a day who and why?

Rob Gronkowski, I just feel like he has his brothers and I am the youngest of three boys. I feel like we match energies. Furthermore, Gronk was one of the reasons I decided to play tight end.

How do you prepare for games?

My ritual is pretty regular on home games. I usually go to a steakhouse in town with my family and eat some ribeye and mashed potatoes. The following morning I have a big breakfast in a attempt to also feed my roommates and teammates. Prior to taking the field as a team I enjoy a stroll around the sidelines with a white monster in my hand and proceed to a static seated stretching routine.

What should we know about Tucker Kraft the person?

After the passing of my father in 2013 I became a resilient and stubborn young man. If I believe something is attainable I will do what I can to achieve it because I am no longer living my life solely for myself, but for my family, friends and community. I have a very high motor; I go out everyday and try to put on a show for the people who no longer have the ability to watch me play the game I love.

What is your favorite route and why?

If a coach scripts or calls a route for me I am going to do everything in my power to get open. For a big guy with deceptive speed I like to run routes where I can collision with smaller DBs or LBs. A specific route would be a corner or post.

How do you handle challenges both in life and on the football field?

I’ve found that thus far in life it’s beneficial to rely on a small circle of people who share your values and have your best interests in mind. It’s best to step back or take a breath before diving head first most situations.

What would a team get in a player like you?

I’m an athlete that is very diligent in their craft. I enjoy the monotony of the little things. I believe that I am a work horse and I can be relied on in big moments.

What are you looking forward to in your upcoming season?

Obviously national championship is the big picture, but strengthening my bonds with my teammates is a large priority. As young men we put a lot on the line for people we only know for a small amount of time. I want my teammates to automatically know that I am going to do my best to be my best.

Who is the most underrated player you’ve played with and why?

One player specifically that I think of as underrated is Cale Reeder. As undersized as he might appear he has a large field presence. He’s a person who plays bigger than they are and he has elite ball skills. As he’s previously put on film, he’s not afraid to take someone’s helmet off their shoulders.


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