Westmont Hilltop OL Garrett Lucas discusses his recruiting process
Written by: Josh Funk on Wednesday, July 7th, 2010
If he played football less than two miles to the east, it’s possible Westmont Hilltop senior-to-be Garrett Lucas would have had a dozen scholarship offers from Division-1 college programs.
Sure, it’s easy to make a statement like that when teams like Greater Johnstown and Bishop McCort, barely two city blocks apart from each other, have the pedigrees and traditions of winning with regularity and turning out many Division-1 prospects in their respective histories. Johnstown won its 600th football game last year, and McCort became the third Cambria County team to advance to the PIAA finals.
Not that it matter to Lucas, a 6’3 ½, 285-pound offensive lineman who is a potential Division-1 prospect. It only makes him work harder.
“My talent’s there,” Lucas said. “People will find out (about me). Once someone gets a hand on my highlight tapes, they’ll see.”
Truth is, talent knows not whether the athlete plays for a 2-8 team, as Lucas did as a junior for the Hilltoppers, or a 14-1 team like McCort. Like cream in a cup of coffee, talent rises to the top regardless of the situation.
Lucas has more on his side than just potential, though. He also talked about his versatility – he’s played tackle, guard and center in his time at Westmont and also a little defense, and he also says his footwork helps set him apart.
While Lucas only owns an offer from Division 1-AA (FCS) representative Saint Francis University, he is also close to receiving an offer from Appalachian State. Lucas is also very high on the recruiting lists of Robert Morris and Duquesne, and West Virginia wants to evaluate him further.
Lucas has also received interest from Connecticut, Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers, Maryland and Virginia, as well as non-BCS schools like Temple, Liberty, Towson, Ohio and Toledo.
“The day that would happen (that I receive a major Division-1 offer), that would be a very great day,” Lucas said. “It’s been a little upsetting to me (that I haven’t received a major offer yet), but I try not to let things get me down.
“I’ll still be here.”
As a junior, Lucas helped pave the way for a Hilltopper offense that averaged 231 yards of offense and nearly 17 points per game. Defensively, he added 30 tackles, a sack, and two forced fumbles. His 40-yard dash time has come down from the middle 5.5s to 5.3.
Academically, Lucas is a 3.8 student in the classroom. He’s been named an academic All-state athlete each of the last three years. He not only sacks the opposition – he sacks the books, too.
Brian Lucas, Garrett’s father, said an indicator of Garrett’s ability as a Division-1 offensive lineman came from a two-day camp at Rutgers this past February.
“Most of those guys are three- and four-star offensive linemen,” Brian Lucas said. “And they’re 6’4, 6’5, 310 to 320 pounds. He competed for two days with these guys and performed very well.
“You never know where you rank until you go to these things,” Brian Lucas continued. “All the hard work Garrett’s put in the last three years has really paid off.”
Hard work makes up the bulk of the reason for the results. A little word of mouth never hurt, either.
“Tony Penna Jr. (an assistant for Greater Johnstown) really helped me out and introduced me to the whole combine scene,” Garrett said. “He’s also sent schools up (to Westmont) to visit.”
Admittedly, Garrett’s passion is on the offensive side of the ball. When he’s gone to camps and combines, he’s gone for the offensive side of things.
Not that he’d mind playing defense, though.
“I would definitely play defensive line,” Garrett said. “I think it would require a little more hard work. I’m more technically sound offensively, but (in college) I can’t sit on the bench. I can’t see myself sitting on the bench.”
One of Garrett’s goals, in fact, his ultimate goal, is to be selected to play in the Big-33 Football Classic next June. Since the game began being played in 1957, there have been 35 Cambria County representatives selected to the game. Most have come from Johnstown, Bishop McCort and Forest Hills.
The last, and only, Westmont athlete selected to play in the Big-33 game came in 1981. His name was Mark Steeves. The 54th edition of the game, should it indeed be played, would be the 30th anniversary of Steeves’ appearance in the game.
“I would definitely want to play in the Big-33 game,” Garrett said.
Garrett Lucas already has one All-star game on the docket. He’s been selected to play in Max Emfinger’s All American Bowl in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Dec. 31st.
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