Prep football: Tumwater's Tucker commits to Washington State

Apr. 8—As Tumwater High School's Malijah Tucker looked over football practice at Washington State University, multiple things stood out for the junior.

A big play by the offense resulted in a cavalcade of players letting out a scream. An interception from the defense and everybody on that side scooted towards the end zone.

For Tucker, it felt like home.

"It felt like everybody there wanted to play football," Tucker said. "The energy was there."

Tucker became the Cougars first commit of the 2025 class on Monday night, earning the verbal from the future defensive lineman. He took to X (formerly Twitter) to announce his decision.

"Thank you to my parents for loving, providing and guiding me. Thank you to my Tumwater coaches and teammates for pushing me to be a better player and person," Tucker wrote. "Thank you to (Coach Pete Kaligis), (Head Coach Jake Dickert) and the WSU staff for believing in me. I'm excited to commit to the Cougs."

One of the top linemen in Southern Washington, Tucker nabbed a first team all-state honor in Class 2A as well as being named to the all-area team. He does not currently have a star on 247 or On3 recruiting rankings.

Tucker took an unofficial visit to the Pullman campus over the weekend and felt strong enough to announce less than 96 hours later. He pointed to relationships built with Kaligis and Dickert that established a key line of communication.

It got to the point where Tucker was calling with the two coaches weekly. He also mentioned how critical it was to stay in-state so his parents can still watch him play.

"Our relationship has grown a lot," he said. "When I was there, they were really happy. They were excited I was their first commit."

Wazzu was not the lone program vying for Tucker's services.

Former Pac-12 rival Cal plus UC Davis, Weber State and Southern Utah were programs that the 6-foot-1 multi-sport athlete considered.

Once the Cougars offered a couple months ago and got Tucker to Pullman, things moved fast.

"Being able to see the campus, the facilities and getting to see the players too," Tucker said. "I wanted to go somewhere I can succeed at. I've got friends that are going there."

Due to his size at 265 pounds, it was decided early that Tucker will be a defensive lineman at the next level. Still, he'll be undersized but added it is "way more doable" to be a d-lineman collegiately instead of o-lineman.

Tucker said he plans on majoring in kinesiology and exercise science with a minor in business. Down the line, he wants to own a gym and help other athletes train.

With the decision now behind him, Tucker said he's ready to turn his focus in the fall to his final season at Tumwater. He aided its run-first offense to the state championship game at Husky Stadium, finishing as the Class 2A runner-up.

"I'm fired up," Tucker stated. "I hope our whole team feels the same way and gets our redemption."