Inside the Class of '08: Luke Poehlmann

The ninth in a daily series of interviews and photo essays on members of the Longhorn Class of '08: Offensive tackle Luke Poehlmann.

Luke Poehlmann
Offensive lineman
Brenham
6-6/260
National Rank at OT: 20
Overall State Rank: 26
Star Rating: ****

An Inside Texas conversation with Brenham head coach Glen West on Luke Poehlmann:

Inside Texas: What is it that made Luke such a highly sought-after prospect?

Glen West: Luke came from a long line of athletes in his family. Both of his brothers have been high school players and have gone on to play college football and his father played college football at the University of Houston. It's interesting, it's four (brothers), Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and all of them are football players. You talk about schools having tradition and trying to follow tradition, he had tradition within his own home that he wanted to follow and try to be like, so I think that's where it started, the drive within his family. As a freshman, he was a tall, gangly kid that we thought if he was going to grow up and be anything like his brothers, he'd be a player. (His brothers) played in Burton, they didn't play in Brenham, and they moved over to Brenham when (Luke) got older, I think he was eighth grade. So he got here and got exposed to us and got on a steady weight program, and, kind of like Ryan (Roberson), he had a desire to want to be good and built himself up, got real interested in the weights and became strong and grew into a 6-7 body.

IT: Did his brothers go on to play at a higher level?

West: Yes, one brother played at New Mexico and the other brother played at Blinn and his father played at the University of Houston. Just a family full of college athletes.

IT: Size-wise, what's his family like?

West: They're all big. He's the tallest of them so far. They're all thick, strong, good-looking kids. Right now he is the tallest but his younger brother may (end up) taller than him.

IT: Is the younger brother coming up through your program?

West: His brother is a freshman right now, so look for John!

IT: What do you see Luke's size potential as being?

West: I'd say Texas would tell you in a heartbeat that they love his size now and he's coming in thin, 260-265 at this point. He's 6-7, they think he'll be close to 300 pounds, he's lean. Offensive linemen have changed, there was a time when you wanted really, really big linemen, now you want linemen that are athletic. This last year, Luke started on defense and played both ways. We weren't planning on doing that but we had some injuries happen on the defensive line. He played very well.

IT: Defensive end?

West: He played defensive tackle for us and played very well.

IT: That's pretty amazing. You typically want your tackles to be a bit shorter. He had the leverage even at that size…

West: And he did well and made a big difference. How we found him was in a couple of key games we put him in in crucial times during district play and he made the plays that won the ballgame for us. We had a series of games this year, about four in a row, that we won by two or three points and had to have some crucial stops and Luke was involved in those stops. After about the second of those, we realized, ‘You know what, we need to be playing him.' He was in terrific shape and never had a problem (playing both ways) and continued to do that. I think Texas sees him as a 295, 300-pounder that runs extremely well and really could play at the next level.

IT: A prototype tackle?

West: Yes, I think so, with great, great feet.

IT: What did Mac McWhorter really like about him?

West: I remember last spring when he came and watched him he liked his flexibility. Great flexibility. I remember that being one of the key things. For a 6-7 kid to get as low as he could get in squats. I think a lot of things line coaches look at is ankle flexibility; that's a big, big thing. I remember coach McWhorter standing and watching him do a squat, and seeing he could go below parallel with his butt and he saw that, with weights on his back, he said, ‘This kid's a good athlete.' And then he watched his feet and watched him move through drills we did, he was convinced after that there weren't many like him. Plus the size that he can be and like I said, they're not really crazy right now about getting a kid and making him lose weight. They want the thinner kids and get them bigger and control that. He fits college football right now what they're looking at.

IT: Was he better in any phase of blocking?

West: He's an extremely good pass blocker. He's a good run blocker as well. I think that the thing about his film last year that sold him to colleges – Luke could have gone anywhere in the country – was the fact he could run block and explode and use his hips so well, that he was a good athlete, but that he was an excellent pass blocker, too. We had evidence of that in film that we sent to schools. His offers came from LSU, Oklahoma, of course Texas and A&M, and had he been on the market longer, he'd have been anywhere. He committed extremely early which was good for Texas but it didn't allow him to really see the exposure he would have gotten (nationally). And that's fine. He also has two brothers that live in Austin right now, he grew up a UT fan, so it was a natural thing for him.

IT: Speaking of natural, is he more natural on one side of the line or the other?

West: No, I don't think so. We flip-flop our line here so he's played both sides. I didn't ever see a distinct difference with him, he was good with both of them.

IT: What's Luke doing during the off-season to come into Austin prepared to play?

West: He's in track right now. Luke's a great shot putter. Luke went to the state meet last year in shot put. I think one of the goals Luke has before he leaves Brenham high school is win the state shot put and that's kind of funny because one of our coaches that works with him and Oscar Giles threw at the state meet… He's extremely dedicated to the weight room and will be and he'll come into Texas in great shape.

IT: Is there a play or a game that really stands out to you from Luke's career?

West: There is. One thing that I remember was not on the offensive side. We were playing Montgomery this year in the second district ballgame, had complete control of that game in the first half but were barely ahead. Some things went wrong in the third quarter, had some turnovers, gave up some long plays, and all of a sudden, six minutes to go in the game, we're down by 10 points and really at that point I felt like we were in a critical situation. We were able to go down and score and cut the lead. We held them, got the ball back and scored again. When that happened, we took the lead with a little over a minute to go, they had a really good quarterback and one we were having a hard time stopping. He was almost like a fullback back there, and I remember as that happened, Luke jumping up into that pile when we were talking to the defense and he was going crazy as far as laughing and smiling, saying, ‘This is so fun, man, this is so fun, y'all. We're gonna win. We can take care of this now. Let's go, let's go, let's go!' And I could see the look on some of the defensive players and they weren't quite looking that way. They realized the weight of the world was on their shoulders. At that point, I told our defensive coordinator, ‘Get Luke in the game. We need him in the game.' Well, that was probably the pivotal point of the season. He went in the game and made four plays in a row and we were able to win the ballgame. And that's when we started playing well on the defensive side more often. It was a big game and he was not intimidated at all. In fact, he welcomes that situation and wanted to get involved. I thought he grew up a lot at that stage and I realized he might be ready for a bigger playing field.

IT: Is that something you hadn't seen as much of from Luke before that moment?

West: Probably not, especially defensively. He always gave great effort and tried hard but that was a time that I really saw him take control of the game.

IT: Does that speak to his leadership?

West: Yeah. And it was a natural thing. It wasn't something made up. ‘We're in the heat of the battle. I want to be involved. I can't wait to be involved.' I remember him running on the field when we said put him in the game, he didn't even know who he was going in for, he just wanted to get involved. And it was a big difference.

IT: What does Luke need to improve on to be successful at the college level?

West: The level of play is so much different at the college level versus the high school level, it's going to be a learning curve, a big adjustment at the beginning. Some of that he's going to learn his first couple of days of two-a-days, but the guys he's going to be going against are going to be so much better than what he went against in high school that that itself is going to be an adjustment.

IT: How would you describe Luke's personality?

West: Fun loving. Jokester. Always has a smile on his face. An offensive lineman. Offensive linemen are offensive linemen, and he's an offensive linemen with that kind of offensive linemen attitude. He's wonderful kid. He's another individual that I feel strongly will get his degree from the University of Texas.

Also see: Poehlmann: The Next Great Brenham Commit

Brenham Pipeline?

Photo Gallery: Luke Poehlmann

UT Signing Day Bio: All-state and two-time 18-4A all-district performer ... three-year letterwinner and starter at offensive tackle ... tabbed one of the state's Top 10 linemen by Dave Campbell's Texas Football ... a third-team member of Dave Campbell's Super Team ... helped Brenham post a 33-6 record (19-0 district) and win three consecutive district championships during his three seasons ... blocked for an average of 393.5 yards and 36.5 points per game ... only allowed one sack in his last two years as a prepster ... garnered first-team 4A all-state honors from the Texas Sports Writers Association and was a unanimous first-team all-district selection as a senior ... led Brenham to an 8-3 record (6-0 district) and the first round of the state playoffs ... helped Brenham's offense produce a balanced 191.0 yards rushing and 190.0 yards passing for 393.0 yards of total offense per game ... also helped the Cubs average 34.4 points per game ... earned second-team all-district honors as a junior ... led Brenham to an 11-2 record (6-0 district) and the regional semifinals ... cleared the way for the Cubs to produce 170.8 rushing yards and 394.0 total yards per game ... also helped the offense score 39.0 points per game ... helped Brenham to a 14-1 record (7-0 district) and the regional finals as a sophomore ... also was a three-year letterwinner in track and field (shot put) ... finished fifth at the 2007 4A state championships in the shot put (54'2.75") ... also was a regional qualifier in the shot put as a sophomore ... Born 6/9/89 in Brenham, Texas ... full name is Luke Caleb Poehlmann ... was named after Luke in the Gospels ... prep honor roll student ... tabbed academic all-district as a senior ... active in the community service group Goodfellows, which helps collect, wrap and handout food and gifts at Thanksgiving and Christmas ... mother, H.F., is an English professor at Blinn College ... father, Luther, played guard at Blinn College and the University of Houston (1976-77) ... brother, Matthew, played defensive tackle at the University of New Mexico (2002-03) ... brother, Mark, played tight end at Blinn College (2004-05) ... uncle, John Darr, played defensive tackle at Texas A&I (1977) ... enjoys playing guitar, surfing, snowboarding, wakeboarding, hunting and fishing.

LAST WEEK

Monday: Emmanuel Acho
Tuesday: Brock Fitzhenry
Wednesday: D.J. Grant
Thursday: Mark Buchanan
Friday: Antoine Hicks

THIS WEEK

Monday: DeSean Hales
Tuesday: Jarvis Humphrey
Wednesday: Justin Tucker

Up next: Ryan Roberson


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