Born To Be A Lineman

Luke Joeckel is the consensus No. 1 offensive linemen in the 2013 NFL Draft. He knew a long time ago that he was destined to battle in the trenches.

Indianapolis, Ind. - It's a deep year at the offensive tackle possession and headlining this 2013 draft class is Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel. The 6-foot-6 and 310-pounder is excited to have the opportunity to display his skills against his peers here in Indianapolis at the NFL Combine.

"It's going to be a great competition between all of us," said Joeckel before the NFL media. "It's just great to be here at the combine."

Eric Fisher (Central Michigan) and Lane Johnson (Oklahoma) are two that come to mind that will likely be selected just behind this Aggie. Regardless of where Joeckel is picked he knows he will continue to play the game he loves so much.

"I started as a second grader," Joeckel said. "Back then I didn't think about stuff like this but I knew I loved the game. Looking back it's just always been a big part of my life. Now it's becoming a dream come true though I never would have imagined all of this."

Joeckel grew up in Arlington, Texas. There, he and his twin brother Matt, played with and against each other.

"There were two teams growing up in our town and he was the quarterback for one and I was the other," Joeckel said. "But I always ended up on the offensive line. I guess I was born to play offensive line. I love the physical aspect of it and I am a background kind of guy."

At Arlington High School Luke was the left tackle and Matt was the quarterback. He jokes about one of the few sacks he gave up during his high school days.

"Matt bounced out of the pocket to my side just as I was pancaking the defender I was blocking," Joeckel said. "He ended up running right into the defender as I was putting him on the ground. I was credited with giving up the sack so I yelled at him about the play because he shouldn't have been there."

Joeckel signed with Texas A&M and was part of their 2010 recruiting class. He turned down offers from Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arizona, Missouri and many others to sign with the Aggies.

"I loved A&M, the 12th man and everything about the place," said Joeckel.

There, one of his classmates was Jake Matthews. Mathews, the other offensive tackle, elected to stay in College Station for his senior year.

"We came in together and he has become one of my close friends," Joeckel said. "We competed each and every day. I wish he was coming out with me but I am also glad he's going back to A&M. The guy is like a brother to me."

Another player Joeckel is close to is former A&M quarterback and current Miami Dolphin Ryan Tannehill. He recently spent time with him down in Miami.

"He was a leader for us at Texas A&M," Joeckel said. "And a great quarterback. I enjoyed blocking for him. I went down to Miami and he gave me some great advice about agents, the draft and the combine. He gave me a lot of tips. It would be nice to go down there and play for Miami, to play with him and be with coach [Mike] Sherman again. He's a great guy and coach and the reason why I picked A&M to begin with. But honestly, I will be happy to play anywhere in the NFL."

Speaking of quarterbacks, Tannehill's replacement turned out to be pretty good as Johnny Manziel led Texas A&M to a special season and won the Heisman Trophy along the way. Joeckel credits Manziel and his style in making him a better offensive lineman.

"He and Ryan were a little different with what they did back there," Joeckel said. "I definitely learned that with Johnny you had to stay on your blocks a little longer. That has certainly helped me out a lot."

Joeckel also believes playing one year of SEC football helped prepare him for his NFL future.

"Those [SEC] defenses are so stout," Joeckel said. "It's the best in the country. You can see the difference [from the Big 12] on film and then you play them. It was a good stepping stone for me and now it's on to the next step."

The next step for Joeckel is here in Indy, as the testing and competition begins. Not only he is the consensus top offensive tackle but perhaps the No. 1 overall pick.

"I come from a very competitive family and to be the No. 1 overall pick would be really cool," Joeckel said. "That would be a dream come true. I want to get there. But I just want to play in the NFL. It doesn't matter. I just want to play."

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