One of the great precursors to each college football season comes with the new release of NCAA Football by EA Sports. This year brought about NCAA 13. Having purchased it on its release date last week Tuesday, its safe to say I've already played my fair share of fake, electronic football--I swear I can't focus enough to create another dynasty.
If you're a huge football fan haven't already done so, I suggest you pick this game up at your local Game Stop as soon as possible. Simply put, it's excellent. And the NCAA Football games have been excellent for years. Where else can you pretend to be a future head coach of your favorite team, create a personalized athlete with whom you can live out your football fantasies, and even go head-to-head with your friends in a ridiculous exhibition match featuring teams fulls of mascots? No where! That's where else.
But every year when I buy the new NCAA Football game, there are things about the new release that strike me as rather intriguing. One of those things is that each NCAA Football game has those players that it loves. You know those guys. The ones who were rated way too high by the game, or the ones who grow into pure beasts years later in dynasty mode. Well I have to say, after some research I have found that one of the guys that NCAA 13 loves very much is Purdue LB, #45 Will Lucas.
In the game, Lucas is already rated as 83 overall, and if you've played these games for years you know that means his in-game character is pretty good. But, in a hilarious mishap, the folks at EA Sports seemed to love Purdue's "LB #45" (as he is listed) so much that they granted him an imaginary extra year of eligibility in the game. The real life junior Linebacker is listed as a true sophomore in the game. This means that when a dynasty is conducted with Purdue, Will Lucas (who is already 83 overall) spends three years with the team and effectively becomes a Sherman Tank by his senior campaign in 2014.
Needless to say, EA has recognized that by his senior year (whether that be 2013 or 2014), Will Lucas should be a very good player for the Boilermakers. That's good enough for me. And while we are on the subject of Will Lucas, we might as well talk about his expectations and aspirations for the upcoming football season. With 45 days left until the season begins, today we look at Lucas in the Kickoff Countdown.
Will Lucas - Jr.
Hometown: Lakeland, FL (Lakeland HS)
6'1", 226 pounds
2012 Projection: Starter at Outside Linebacker
Before beginning his career at Purdue, Lucas was a three star recruit out of the prestigious football program at Lakeland High School in Lakeland, Florida. For those of you who may not know, this is the same high school football program that produced big time gridiron players such as NFL linemen siblings Maurkice and Mike Pouncey, former Florida Running Back Chris Rainey, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Safety Ahmad Black and the moderately legendary Rod "He Hate Me" Smart.
While those are some tough names to live up to, Will certainly held his own amongst these greats during his high school career at Lakeland. During his three years on varsity, he racked up 315 total tackles, including 73 for loss and 12.5 sacks, three fumble recoveries and three blocked PATs and field goals. Needless to say, the guy was already an animal on the field and a tackle machine early in his career.
And once he made his way to putting on the old gold and black, Lucas just kept the momentum going. As a true freshman in 2010, #45 played in all 12 games for the Boilers as a reserve and even made a couple of starts at Linebacker. His talent and hard work really showed up in his numbers, though. During his first year of college ball, he compiled 43 tackles, 29 solo stops and 3 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception. Not bad at all for a freshman.
But if his first showing as a Boilermaker wasn't impressive enough, Lucas continued to make strides. In his sophomore year last season, Will started all 13 games at Outside Linebacker and managed to rack up some more remarkable stats. In 2011, he totaled 82 tackles (including 46 solos and 10 for loss), 1 sack, 2 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries.
Now entering his junior season, #45 looks to continue to play at a high level in 2012. His security at the starting OLB spot and his ability put together another impressive stat sheet are very solid. However, he certainly can work to improve his game this year while he chases a very plausible Big Ten All-Conference selection. Among these improvements, Lucas should be working to become a vocal leader of the defensive squad and improve or broaden his skill set. And although Will is a bit small of a Linebacker at 6'1", 226 pounds, he seems very comfortable at that size. He is very quick, and his tackling skills and football I.Q. are unquestionably great.
2012 looks like it could be a wonderful year for #45 Will Lucas. Now we just have to wait and see exactly what the guy can accomplish.