Chip Kelly is a fan of running the football. Luckily for him, the Eagles feature a talented stable of running backs. The unit includes former LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown, Felix Jones and Chris Polk. Those talented runners are joined in the offensive backfield by undrafted but promising rookie Matthew Tucker.
A highly-recruited running back in high school, Tucker played right away at TCU. The Horned Frogs featured Tucker as part of a rotation, but he was able to collect 676 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on just 105 carries. As part of a two-back system, Tucker continued to do more with less, with 709 yard and seven touchdowns on 148 carries as a sophomore.
In 2011, the 6-foot-1, 227-pound running back really broke out. As a junior, Tucker receiver an honorable mention for the All-Mountain West after posting 702 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on just 123 attempts. He finished his TCU career on a down note, despite being starter. Last season, Tucker had just 515 yards and six touchdowns on 118 carries, but was able to collect his first receiving touchdown. He received an honorable mention for the All-Big 12 for his performance.
Tucker left TCU as the school's third all-time leader in rushing touchdowns with 33 scores. His 2,602 yards on the ground were good enough for TCU's fifth-highest total in the school's history. Despite his statistics and unique size, the Tyler, Texas native went undrafted after a lukewarm Combine performance.
Tucker signed with the Eagles shortly after the draft in April. Tucker faces an uphill battle to be the number three or four running back on the roster. Polk has been in Tucker's position before, but was much more accomplished in college and Jones is a former first round pick with plenty of experience and versatility. Tucker also didn't do himself any favors by failing his first conditioning test.
The Eagles are likely to keep three running backs, but as with the case of Polk last season, perhaps Tucker could force the coaching staff's hand and go with four. If he is unable to grab a roster spot, he may be a good candidate for the practice squad. It is up to Tucker to have a big preseason and training camp to make the leap from long-shot to roster spot.
Here are some highlights from Tucker at TCU: