There is the unassuming, fairly quiet Pierre Gee-Tucker that most people encounter on a regular basis.
Then there is the "other" Pierre, the Belleville West senior linebacker that introduces himself to opposing running backs with hard hits and bone-crunching tackles while tracking receivers down from behind with his 4.5-second speed in the 40-yard dash.
It was that Gee-Tucker that area coaches voted Belleville News-Democrat Large-School Football (Class 5A-8A) Co-Player of the Year along with O'Fallon's Darius Mosely.
"When people meet me I don't look like an aggressive-type guy," said Gee-Tucker, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound three-year starter. "I'm a mellow-type person, but on the field I turned into someone different.
"At game time, I just turned into a whole different person, I'm a monster on the field. I have a lot of things I know that I have to get done because I know what's on the line --and with my future."
His 80 tackles ranked third on what likely was the area's top linebacking corps along with fellow first-round All-Area picks Tori Millender and Tremont Davis and junior Brian Hill.
"We actually named ourselves the Hit Squad," Gee-Tucker said. " We've known each other for so long because we got a lot of playing time as underclassmen."
Among Gee-Tucker's best games were a nine-tackle, four-sack performance against Edwardsville.
"He was just everywhere," West coach Cameron Pettus said. "He was all over the place."
The highly productive Gee-Tucker also led the Maroons with seven sacks and added two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
Gee-Tucker has nine Division I scholarship offers and has already visited North Dakota State, which will play for the FCS (formerly Division I-AA) national championship, as well as Northern Iowa.
"It's a good problem to have, but he has to figure out the five official visits and make a decision," Pettus said, who also named Tennessee-Martin, Southeast Missouri State, Missouri State, Indiana State and South Dakota State among schools making offers.
Several larger schools have also shown interest, including Iowa State, Iowa, Western Kentucky and Northwestern.
"Me and my dad have been talking about everything, doing research about which schools to take a look at," Gee-Tucker said.
He said part of his remarkable quickness came from training with Elite Sports in St. Louis.
"My second position is safety, so I always trained to be a DB (defensive back) and that made me a better athlete going against the best guys," he said.
Gee-Tucker and his father also have an impressive group of friends and relatives when they need any type of athletic advice.
One of Gee-Tucker's cousins is former NBA standout and East St. Louis Lincoln and Notre Dame All-American La Phonso Ellis.
Gee-Tucker and his father are also friends with two of the most familiar names in East St. Louis sports history -- former University of Illinois Butkus Award winner and NFL linebacker Dana Howard and University of Tennessee basketball coach Cuonzo Martin.
When football recruiters talk about Gee-Tucker, some feel his speed is so special that he could probably play safety.
"They like how well he covers as well as bringing it on the blitz," Pettus said. "He can get around blocks, go through blocks, whatever he needs to do to get the job done. He can definitely put more muscle onto his frame and I think he's only going to get better.
"He was a late bloomer who really exploded on the scene this year."
Gee-Tucker continued the momentum built through the strong second half of his junior year, helping the Maroons to a 6-4 record and Class 7A state playoff appearance.
"It was very significant because last year we had a down season and it felt good to win again," Gee-Tucker said. "We were a little more team-oriented this year; we focused on each other and had better chemistry than last year."
That type of on-field spark and leadership endeared Gee-Tucker to Pettus and the Maroons.
"I think it started with the East St. Louis game his junior year," Pettus said. "He had a really good game against those guys and the light bulb went on to make him realize he could be a really good player."
Pettus said Gee-Tucker's strong combination of solid academics and high athletic skill have only enhanced his recruiting possibilities.
"He really loves football and he loves to get good grade, so that's an attention getter," Pettus said. "A lot of times you say 'Man, I wish this kid was a better student or a better athlete,' but we were blessed to have Pierre, who is both.'"
Contact reporter Norm Sanders at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2454.