Luke's livin' large

It has been a short four years for Alabama football wide receiver Triandos Luke at The Capstone.

In those four years, Luke has gone from being the top wide receiver prospect in the state to the number one receiver at college football's most storied program.

With the hiring of Mike Price and the changing of the Alabama offense to a more pass-oriented attack, Luke's senior campaign promises to be a special one for the Phenix City native.

Triandos Luke points to the quarterback after a touchdown reception last year. (photo courtesy of Barry Fikes)

Opportunities will multiply for Luke as the Tide goes from a ground assault to an aerial blitzkrieg. "It definitely makes you more motivated," Luke said of the opportunities for receivers in the new offense. "You get a lot more opportunities to get the football."

Luke is a wiry, agile 6-0 greyhound whose sure hands and precise route running make him a standout among the Tide receiving corps and one of quarterback Brodie Croyle's favorite targets.

With depth at the wideout slot especially thin due to the possibly career-ending injury to senior A.C. Carter, Luke will be counted on for both leadership and playmaking as one of four seniors on the depth chart.

"He doesn't have as much speed as Zach Fletcher nor does he have the strength of Dre Fulgham," Price said. "But he's probably just as good as those guys."

Last season, Luke caught 41 passes for 482 yards and two scores as the Tide's leading receiver, starting every game. He posted two consecutive 100-yard receiving games against Vanderbilt and Mississippi State capped by a 36-yard touchdown catch to seal a 28-14 Tide victory. He also saw duty returning kicks and gained 196 yards on 10 kick-off returns including a season-best two returns for 49 yards against Auburn.

"He (Triandos) is looking to be the best," Price said. "He's just so fluid and makes the best cuts."

After spending last season in the running attack favored by the previous regime with emphasis, learning the new offense has been a welcome challenge for Luke and the rest of the wide receivers as their role has increased in importance.

"It's been a bit of an adjustment," Luke said of learning the new scheme. "I'm getting to run some different routes."

Luke had an excellent spring, solidifying his reputation as probably Bama's best all-around receiver.

Price's system changes the way routes are identified at first, with a route's depth being charted by steps rather than yards to ease the transition for the quarterbacks to the Price system.

"You've got to learn to do both, but the once you get the steps down on the routes, it makes it easier for the quarterback to know where the wide receivers are going to break," Price said.

With the emphasis on precision route running, Luke is working hard in the spring to become the number one in the four-receiver, single back sets favored by Price. "It's all about getting your timing down," Luke said. "I'm just focusing on route running and just catching the ball."

For direction on how to become the complete receiver, Luke looks up to the best wide receiver ever to lace up his cleats and whose precise routes is the stuff of legend.

"It would have to be Jerry Rice," Luke said when asked about the receiver he most admires. "His discipline, work ethic and love for the game are amazing."

According to Luke, he intends to provide both leadership as a veteran voice in the huddle and in the locker room and as a tone-setting playmaker on the field in his final campaign.

"We know as seniors we are going to have to assume a bigger role," Luke said.

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