Aurora, Illinois - Tight End R.J. Luke of Western Illinois was a highly sought after high school player out of Aurora, Illinois. Luke had football scholarships to every major college in America and went on recruiting trips to Illinois, Northwestern, Indiana, Maryland and Penn State and finally ended up signing with the Nittany Lions of Penn State.
He was named a consensus first-team high school All-American and is the career all-time leading receiver in Illinois high school history with 196 catches for 3,124 yards and 26 touchdowns. He began his Penn State career as a fullback. Luke was the 1997 Illinois Gatorade Player-of-the-Year and a two time all-state selection by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and Champaign News-Gazette.
Things did not quite go the way that Luke wanted them to go at Penn State so he transferred to Western Illinois where his father had played two seasons on their football team after starting his career at Georgia. RJ finished with 12 catches for 207 yards and two touchdowns at Penn State.
Luke is a very talented tight end with great skills that had 40 catches for 425 yards and 6 touchdowns this season.
"I would say Shannon Sharpe, because I run good routes, I catch the ball well and I'm a little undersized," said Luke. "My biggest strength is my speed, my strength and I run good routes. I have a very good grasp of the game of football because my dad is a coach, my uncle played football and I have been around it all my life."
Luke is correct on all of those accounts he is almost the same size of Shannon Sharpe, Sharpe is listed at 6-2 240 and Luke might be a bit larger at 6-3 250. He has the speed and the strength similarities as well. He has benched 225 the weight that the NFL test prospects at 26 times and his goal is 30 times before his two Pro Days on March 11 and March 25 at Western Illinois.
After a long career in the NFL, R.J. wants to go into coaching like his father.
"I would really like to go into coaching after my playing career is done, I think I have a real good grasp on the game of football and I love football," said Luke. " I would like to teach the fundamentals of the game and I have helped my dad out in the summer and at his camps."
Playing in the Big Ten with Penn State Luke has played against some very good players.
"I would say the best players I have played against would be Jerome McDougal from Miami, he is very quick. Doss from Ohio State, he is great in coverage, and Napoleon Harris of Northwestern," said Luke.
When I asked what teams he would like to play for Luke answered.
"I like to play for the Bears because I have always been a big fan