INDIANAPOLIS — Tyler Scott and Tre Tucker were reminded of their hometown roots as soon as they arrived at the NFL combine.
Scott and Tucker are both from Northeast Ohio — Scott attended Norton, and Tucker is a Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy alum. Both went to Cincinnati, both are best friends and both are among the speediest receivers in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Tucker sent Scott a text when he arrived in Indy asking what hotel room he was in.
Scott said he was in 330, an all-too familiar area code for Northeast Ohio.
When Tucker picked up his room card and turned it over, he saw the same number.
"I was like, 'We're meant to be here,'" Tucker said.
It's been a journey of fate in reaching the NFL for both prospects, who have known each other since they were around 8-10 years old. They met as AAU track athletes at West Akron Track Club and bonded instantly, so their families traveled together in the same rental cars across the nation to attend events. They both sat in the backseat of the van, often taking day-long trips to go to New Orleans or Virginia Beach or Michigan and Texas.
When it came time to compete in long jumps or races, the pair would always look to beat one another.
"It's always been with him," Tucker said. "I'd say brotherly love and a lot of competitiveness. We silently compete in everything we do."
When they were deciding on which high school to attend, Scott and Tucker were both lured by some of their other track friends to play at Archbishop Hoban. Neither of them, though, were interested in following what they felt was the easy path by attending the local powerhouse program.
They wanted to help a school that, well, needed it.
Tucker went to CVCA, where he was a star playmaker that helped them go from a two-win team his freshman year to a playoff team four years later. Scott went to Norton, which also had just two wins prior to his freshman year and became an eight-win team his last year.
"They were all like, 'Hey, come to Hoban. Come to Hoban,'" Tucker said. "There are guys that have won four state championships there, so they never pretty much lost a game in their high school career, but me and Tyler are different. We stuck to it. We were like, 'Hey, I'm going to go here and turn this school around.'
"It was a blessing. I like to be a part of things like that."
They continued to do the same at Cincinnati, where their friendship ignited again as they propelled the Group of Five program to one of the best in the country. They were always among the fastest players on the field, with Tucker starting in the slot receiver role and Scott working on the outside.
The Bearcats played in bowl games every year of their careers and became the first Group of Five program to reach the College Football Playoffs in 2021. Scott finished his career with 1,439 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns in three seasons, while Tucker totaled 1,426 yards and eight touchdowns in four seasons. Tucker also was the primary kick returner, averaging 24.9 yards per return and scoring two touchdowns.
Playing together again might have helped them most. They competed against each other — just like their track days — and they leaned on each other with the belief that they'd one day play in the NFL.
"That just meant the world to me," Scott said. "We did this whole process together and we think alike. We're like brothers, and then we end up getting the same agent, we ended up training in the same facility in Florida, and somehow, we ended up being roommates here in Room 330. It's crazy."
Each of them could have the opportunity to play for their hometown team, too.
They were raised as massive Browns fans and have idolized the top receivers who have worn an orange helmet the last few years in Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry and Amari Cooper. They both watched Cooper's combine clips from 2015, when he wowed scouts with his crisp route-running and catching skills.
"He's really quick at the line," Scott said. "I like learning how to manipulate defensive backs. It's really kind of a mind game we're playing at receiver because it's also a mind game for them as well. I think that's what's also fun about playing receiver, and I think he does that so well."
One of the Browns' top offensive needs this offseason is finding a speedy wideout, and both of them certainly check that box. They're expected to run some of the fastest 40-yard dash times Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium, and they also have each met with the Browns this week.
They wouldn't mind receiving a call from Executive VP and GM Andrew Berry in April.
"Every day on my way home from church, we had the Browns game on," Scott said. "I'm a diehard Browns fan. It'd be great to play for them."
No matter where they go, they'll always remain connected by their Northeast Ohio upbringing.
"I'm actually going to save that (hotel room) envelope, and I'm sure he will, too," Tucker said. "We rep the 330 hard."