Brock Lutes of Newberg High School in Oregon first caught our eye at the OSAA Basketball Playoffs a few years back. He was tearing up the kids in the High School ranks and was touted as a big time hoop recruit and we could see that. But the 6'3" muscular kid looked so explosive and so talented that we projected his skills would be better put to work on the football field.
After getting to know Brock it turned out that he had played High School football but had been hampered by injuries so his film was not very complete nor did it really tell the story of his skill. When you are a top tier athlete in any sport you get carried along by that sport including the off season regimen which basketball is most well known for. For Lutes it was AAU ball in the off season and the thought of playing Football in the Fall.
Encouraging him to try out for some camps and combines in the off season we wanted Brock to show that he had all the same skills that guys like Colt Lyerla (Hillsboro- Oregon- Green Bay) and Hayden Plinke (Glencoe- Boise State- Portland State) had at the tight end position. He came out and showed out and at the Washington State Football camp he showed up big leaping for several touchdowns and big catches in pads.
"Who is this kid again?" was a question we were asked time and again that year. Brock received an offer from WSU shortly thereafter and became a hot recruit before committing to the Cougars. Football season came and Lutes performed well on a team that was challenged. His ability to out muscle, out run, and out leap opponents was obvious and WSU had a hot prospect on their hands. Overall his leaping ability, near 40 inches vertical, was perhaps his best asset. His wingspan is amazing as well only adding to his allure.
He went on to have an amazing season in the basketball ranks generating offers before signing for football at WSU. So the football story of Brock Lutes was on target.
But the story took a turn when his grades came in too low to qualify him at WSU and as Paul Wulff left WSU the story for Lutes ended. There would be no JC Football or encouragement to return to the Cougars.
Never fear. The Hardwoods were waiting for Lutes and he headed to Iowa Western for his first year; a National powerhouse. He did really well and people talked about the muscular kid from Oregon playing guard and making his mark.
Season two came and Lutes found a better fit at home and played his second year of JC ball at Clackamas Community College earning 1st Team All League and playing in the League All Star Game. Again he did well dominating on most nights and making believers wherever he went.
After JC Ball Lutes landed at D-2 Bemidji State who offered to cover the cost of his schooling on a full ride. According to Brock even though he had worked very hard in the classroom several D-1 schools felt they would not be able to work with his credits which would not all transfer as he had moved to 2 different JC's and some of his classes did not meet their qualifications.
His season at Bemidji State last year was memorable gaining him Newcomer Of The Year awards and a All League selection. Brock scored over 30 points in 5 games and over 40 points during one performance and anyone that knows NCAA basketball knows that this is not easy regardless of the level. Whatever the reasons Brock did not end up at a full D1 school he proved he could have and maybe should have. Before he was done last season he averaged 22 points a game and earned the league scoring title.
Now at 225 lbs we still say football is a very real option. Lutes has been asked repeatedly to play football at Bemidji State and has thought about it. He is going to play his last year of hoops for the Beavers which will use up his basketball eligibility. After that the European Pro Basketball Leagues will offer contracts and Lutes should land one. He has stated that if he does not get the right one he will once again turn to football.
"I will be able to play my 5th year as a football player if it comes to that and will be happy to give it a shot again," said Lutes who is training at TWIST Sport Conditioning in Portland.
Brock is right at 40" on his vertical leap and has broad jumps exceeding 10'4" feet which would have put him in the top 5 guys at the NFL combine this season. He is big, fast, agile, and motivated and through it all has kept his body in amazing shape; the sign of a dedicated and great athlete.
Julius Thomas and Antonio Gates both came from basketball to the very top tier of football in the NFL.
Is Lutes of that level? He just might be. Do not be at all surprised to see NFL agents moving in on Lutes as he just might be the next one to make the transition.
While basketball has been the bulk of his book of life the chapter on football is not closed just yet.
It is always to see our NWPR Alumni doing so well and overcoming the odds; in Brock's case his victory in the Classroom is even sweeter then those on the hardwoods! Way to go Brock Lutes! We salute you.