Commitment Date: 4/10/15
Commitment in the Class: Second
Accolades: Attended Grafton High School … all-state tight end and honorable mention all-state defensive end by Wisconsin Football Coaches Association as a senior ... all-region by WFCA at both tight end and defensive end as a senior ... first-team All-North Shore Conference at tight end and defensive end as a senior ... finished senior season with 83 tackles, 30 TFLs and 9 sacks ... also caught 23 passes for 295 yards and five touchdowns ... named Grafton’s defensive player of the year as a junior and senior ... brother, Beau, is an offensive lineman at UW ... father played football at Wisconsin from 1983-87 ... uncle, Eric Benzschawel, played football at UW from 1988-92 ... grandfather, John Morgen, competed in rowing at UW from 1955-57 and went on to serve as president of the National W Club in 1990-91
Recruiting Story: From the minute he took the job in December 2014, head coach Paul Chryst put an importance on keeping the best players in state. It was that notion that made Benzschawel hopeful; after all, playing at Wisconsin was becoming a family tradition.
“It would mean a lot to me and my family (if Wisconsin offered),” Benzschawel said in March 2015. “If I got to play with Beau again, that would be incredible. When we played together in high school my sophomore year, it was great having a role model that you can work hard with at practice, then go home and just joke around and have a good time.”
After going to home games the year before when Gary Andersen was the head coach, a visit during Wisconsin’s spring practices was beneficial for Benzschawel. He met the new staff, sat in on team meetings and got encouraging words from offensive line coach Joe Rudolph and defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield. When he visited a month later, the staff was excited to present him with an offer, which he accepted on the spot.
“Coach Chryst just went up to me and explained his interest in me, then he said an offer was on the table and explained I can take my time on a decision,” Benzschawel said. “I asked if I could commit right now. He said of course and I was just completely overwhelmed with excitement. I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.”
Other suitors came in on Benzschawel over the course of the next 10 months, including North Carolina and Oregon, but there was no chance he was going to look around.
Why Wisconsin? “It feels amazing that I can follow in my dad and brother’s footsteps. It’s going to be awesome, like back in the day when we would go at each other in the backyard and now I get to go against him in college.”
Scouting Report: “Luke is a little bit hard to evaluate because there is not a ton of film out there on him. He is obviously, like his brother, a taller kid with a big frame. Because of that he could grow into several different positions. Given his height and the likelihood that he will get a lot bigger over the next few years, I tend to think he will end up on the offensive line, but he offers possibilities as a tight end or defensive lineman as well.” – Scout.com national recruiting analyst Allen Trieu
Coach’s Quote: “You’re talking about a big, long athlete. What he grows into will be determined over the next year. We asked his brother to compare himself to Luke at his age. Luke is 7-to-8 pounds heavier and all of a sudden Beau is a 300-pound offensive linemen. You just don’t know, but he’s a guy who played both sides of the ball, very athletic, basketball player and you like a lot about what he did.” – Wisconsin assistant coach Chris Haering, who recruits the state of Wisconsin.
BadgerNation Prediction: Starting out at defensive end for Wisconsin, Benzschawel showed great tendencies on the defensive side of the ball, leading the team in tackles, tackles for loss, sacks and forced fumbles as a junior. That’s a real positive sign because it shows he knows how to make plays. In-state kids are great for the program, especially kids with a lineage to Wisconsin. Considering his dad played and his older brother plays at Wisconsin, Benzschawel knows what it takes to succeed in Madison.