Over the years, several gifted student-athletes have come through the Tucker High School football program. Some, like Jacksonville Jaguar defensive back A.J. Bouye, have established themselves. Others, like University of Georgia standout Dominick Sanders, are rising stars. The latest in the lineage of Tucker football greatness, however, could be the best of the bunch.
Josh Vann is a senior wide receiver and leader of a Tigers team that has designs on a return to the state championship stage. Following a stellar junior campaign, Vann has racked up almost 700 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns through Tucker’s first seven games of the 2017 season.
On October 18, Vann was in the spotlight as representatives from the U.S. Army and American Family Insurance came to Tucker High to present him with his jersey for the 2018 U.S. Army All-American Game.
“It’s like a dream come true,” Vann says. “I never dreamed of becoming an Army All-American.”
While fans and recruiters know Vann as a star wide receiver, his coach remembers just three years ago, a kid trying to earn playing time at punter.
“Our kids can see that if you work hard and you do your best, then there’s an opportunity for you to be one of the best in the country,” says Tucker Coach Bryan Lamar. “We’re very proud of Josh and all that he’s accomplished and the sky’s the limit for him.”
Vann was a heavily recruited four-star wide receiver, gaining interest from top programs in the SEC, Big Ten and Big 12. Ultimately, he chose to commit to the University of South Carolina, a spot that Coach Lamar says he could make a real impact.
“Josh is a tremendous talent,” Lamar explains. “Probably got the best hands I’ve ever seen on a kid. Tremendous strength in his hands, big hands, great speed and he just has the ability to make big plays.”
While there’s a lot of buzz over Vann’s college future and his All-American honor, this is a young man who’s focused on what’s right in front of him and his Tucker teammates.
“Our team goal is to make it to a state championship and win a state championship,” Vann says. “We’ve just got to work hard every day, got to grind, got to be there for each other, stay positive throughout the season and just care for each other.”
If the Tigers are able to make a second straight appearance in the state championship game, Vann will surely be one of the reasons. In the meantime, he knows he’s serving as a role model for younger teammates and kids in the Tucker community.
“Everybody looks at the football team,” Vann says. “Just by me being able to go to college…making it to college, that’s a good honor. Everybody in the City of Tucker [is] just looking up to me and wanting me to do big things for myself…so it means a lot.”
You can watch Vann and other prep stars from across the country in the U.S. Army All-American Game in San Antonio on January 6, 2018. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. on NBC.