Shannon's Got Heart

Glendale Junior College offensive linemen takes an active interest in BYU by way of faith, marriage and the in explainable connection he felt towards a specific BYU quarterback after he witnessed an emotional post game interview.

With a 380 pound bench press, a 550-plus pound squat, a 315 pound clean, 28 inch vertical leap with 4.9 forty speed, offensive line prospect Shannon Lucas has clearly spent hours in the weigh root refining his pecs, delts and quads. One muscle, however, outstrips them all: his heart. After listening to Lucas speak, it is plainly evident that his passion and heart hardly be contained by his 6'4, 300 pound frame.

"Football is a million times more emotional than most things," Lucas stated. "I just wish people would understand that football is such emotional thing because it's a team sport. I just think one of the things that rates above the emotions of pouring out your heart towards something would be to raise your kids and your family. It's such an emotional sport and I can't find the exact words to describe it."

It is often difficult to find others who hold the same passion and pours both heart and soul into every facet of the game. For Lucas, that connection was made many miles away as BYU quarterback John Beck poured out his heart and soul on national television following a heart breaking loss.

"I just saw him [John Beck] crying and could relate to him," explained Lucas. "I could just see how much emotion he had put into what he does, and I feel the exact same way because what ever I do, especially with football down here at Glendale, I put my entire heart into it. I'm the first one in the weight room and the last one leave. I worked hard at what ever I did and I think down here the coaches wanted me to be the leader and I tried my best to get people to talk to me and lead out.

"I think down here [Glendale CC] people just expected a miracle out of me, and I'm only human. I can give you all I've got and put out 110% and it's so tough because you make the effort and things don't always work. I can relate to John because he put everything into it and had that same passion and heart, and when I saw him cry, I could relate to that with him. Since that day I've taken BYU 100% more seriously even though they've had these losing season. I just saw something that I haven't seen in other football players that I saw in him that day."

In the gritty, tough arena of football, a public display of emotion on national television could be viewed by many as a sign of weakness. For Lucas, it was a display of strength shown through an inexplicable desire and will to win.

"No, I saw it as strength because I saw the passion and his desire to win," said Lucas. "When I saw it, it motivated me. I wanted more of that because it made me realize what a passionate person he was and there definitely must be something there."

The passion shown by Beck served to rally Lucas' support to the point that the lineman would be willing to put himself in harm way for the Cougar QB. "Oh my gosh, I would give my all for that guy," Lucas declared. "I would jump in front of a bullet for him if I had to because I know in his heart he would try and do what ever it took to win. It would just make you want to do all that you can for someone like that and make you want to protect him with all your heart and win as a team. It's just you feel the exact same way as he does and it's hard to describe. You'll do anything for someone who has the same emotional passion. Someone like that who lays it all out on the line, you'll do anything for. It's like a brotherhood."

Growing up back east, Lucas', an active Latter-day Saint, never really followed BYU or took much of an interest in his church's school. However, after marrying a young woman who has followed BYU football ever since she was a little girl, things started to change for the big offensive linemen.

"My wife [Jill] is a big BYU fan and her dad is a legacy donor at BYU," said Lucas. "Ever since I've been married to her, well, when you get married you just kind of start sharing the same dreams you know, and I think with her being such a big BYU fan that, regardless of who's coaching there, it's kind of become a little bit of a dream of mine to play there. I know that just by being on BYU's campus there's such a different experience and I would know that I would have a much more enjoyable experience there than say at Oklahoma I just think it's more than just the football and the education, it's the life experiences that you can have at BYU that can teach you things you can't learn any place else

"I'm not bashing on other people but I like being in an atmosphere where I'm married and there are other married guys. I like being in an atmosphere where you're not hearing guys drop the f-bomb continually. I don't like the use of bad language. It's kind of funny to listen to the guys down here, and I can literally count no more than ten seconds without hearing the f-word. It gets on your nerves after awhile and I know there are guys that still swear at BYU, but it's going to be a lot less. I mean I slip up every once in awhile but it's just nice to around guys that have a common value as you do."

Earlier in the year, BYU defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi contacted Lucas about being a walk-on for the Cougars. "Steve Kaufusi talked to me about walking on, but it's become a money issue for me," Lucas confided. "He said they would be looking at me later in the fall. I don't want to walk on because I've got responsibilities because I'm married."

If BYU really wants Lucas, it may have to get more serious than a walk-on offer. There are other schools in pursuit of Lucas' talents. The University of San Diego, University of New Mexico and Utah State are all also in talks with this promising prospect.

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