[Front Page'd -- Ed.]
Luke Kuechly is a special football player. He’s one of those guys that comes along once a generation, and people don’t truly realize how incredible he is until he's gone. In high school, Luke was a good but not great recruit from Cincinnati, Ohio who was one of BC’s better commitments for the class of 2009. Little did we know how good he would become.
In his true freshman season, Luke quickly grabbed a starting outside linebacker spot and never looked back. He had 158 tackles, second in the entire nation. He had double the tackles of any other player on the team. He led the Eagles in tackles 12 out of their 13 games. He was the Emerald Bowl defensive MVP with 16 tackles ... as a freshman. Luke was first team All-ACC and the ACC defensive rookie of the year. He was incredible, having one of the greatest freshman seasons in BC football history.
Luke was certainly amazing in his first year. But he had the element of surprise. In his sophomore season, teams could play around him; go to weaker points in the defense. So, it would’ve been completely understandable to see Luke’s stats drop. They didn’t. A stronger, older Kuechly moved to middle linebacker where he continued to terrorize rival running backs and receivers alike. He was a tackling machine, amassing 183 throughout the course of the season, easily leading the NCAA. In fact, this was the 3rd most tackles ever made in a season since the NCAA began keeping track. He was the definition of consistency, extending his streak of games with at least 10 tackles to 22. He hit the 20 tackle mark twice, with 20 against NCST and 21 against Duke. He wasn’t only All-ACC but a consensus All-American. And yet, The Boy Wonder was ignored by committees for the Nagurski and Butkus awards due to the fact he was a sophomore.
On top of his incredible football skills, Kuechly is also a well-spoken, intelligent, moral individual. Coming out of high school, Luke had a 3.8 GPA. When choosing a college, it came down to BC, Duke, UVA, and Stanford. You hear athletes claim that academics come first all the time, but Luke shows it, succeeding in the Carroll School of Management while dominating on the gridiron. In fact, he has drawn comparisons to Clark Kent due to his reserved alter ego off the field, as well as his short black hair and glasses. He is committed to BC’s Jesuit values and commands respect from his teammates, getting elected captain as a junior.
Last year, Duke's head coach David Cutcliffe stated, “I think [Luke] is the best defensive football player in college football. Absolutely, without question.” I agree, and with another year of lifting and experience under his belt, we can only imagine how good Kuechly will be this year. Now, it is my personal opinion that if the Heisman trophy is actually given to the most outstanding player, regardless of position or school, than Luke has to be in the mix this year. Now, he probably won’t be, due to the fact that he plays linebacker on a team that won’t likely be a championship contender this year. But imagine for a second that Kuechly manages to get a mere 11 more tackles than last year. That would give him the NCAA record for most tackles ever in a season. Add that to growing media hype and a successful season, and then maybe the unthinkable happens.