The long and winding road to college football starter might just be over for Luke Falk.
The Utah native has been through more, experienced more and fought more than just about any of his other contemporaries and now, after years of waiting, Falk is ready for his moment in the spotlight. The Washington State quarterback made waves with his impressive performances late last season and the expectations are high again this fall.
He’s ready. Here’s what you need to know about Falk:
1. Falk Started Three Games For Washington State Last Season
Well, that’s one way to start. Falk took over under center for an injured Connor Halliday against USC last year and racked up 346 yards and two touchdowns. Then, it got better.
His first career start came in a victory over Oregon State where he went 44-for-61 for a whopping 471 yards and five touchdowns, the most yards and touchdowns ever thrown by a Cougar quarterback in a first career start. The performance earned him Pac-12 Conference Player of the Week honors. Overall, Falk appeared in six games, completing 156-of-243 passes for 1,859 yards and 13 touchdowns.
This year, Falk has continued to simply fire on all cylinders, literally. He threw for 323 yards on 26-of-33 passing with two touchdowns in the Crimson & Gray Spring game, battling for the starting job under center with Peyton Bender.
2. He Walked On to the Team in 2013
It’s 2013. Falk has committed to play football at Cornell University. Then, an opportunity presents itself. One Falk can’t walk away from. He has a chance to play FCS football, to play in the Pac-12, to see his dream come true. Except there’s one catch. He has to walk-on.
It wasn’t what Falk had always planned but it was an opportunity he couldn’t give up. So he got to work. Falk told The Spokesman-Review:
I wanted the opportunity to play for coach Leach and in the Pac-12 and he told me he’d give me a fair opportunity and he’s been true to his word ever since I stepped on campus. Some people might think I was crazy to give up the education or whatever, but football is my passion and it’s just been great so far.
Falk spent his first season at Washington State redshirting and working with the scout team offense while he learned the team’s playbook and waited for another chance. Now, with a starting job in front of him, Falk is ready for another opportunity he refuses to pass up.
3. Falk Has a Reputation For Studying Film
Falk has put in a lot of work for his place on the Washington State squad and his coaches have started to take notice. The redshirt sophomore is frequently praised for his work in the film room, for the hours he has spent going over plays and preparing for brand-new opponents.
That thought has extended to this fall as well when Washington State coach Mike Leach, before naming a starter, said that Falk, “for week 1, probably puts our best foot forward.”
4. His Family Hired a Quarterback Coach to Help Him Fine-Tune His Skills
In 2011, Falk told a CNN reporter he “was born to be a quarterback” and, to some extent, that was true. After all, that quote came as a segment on the TV news station called “Extreme Parenting” and featured Falk, his family and his private quarterback coach, Steve Clarkson.
The Falk family hired Clarkson after the quarterback had started gaining national attention for his performance under center. It also led to the family moving from Utah to Los Angeles, hoping to work even closer with Clark and help Falk increase his exposure to college recruiters.
Things did not go according to plan. Falk told The Seattle Times:
It was a little too big for me. I (was around) people driving BMWs and Porsches. I’m used to 1989 Ford pickup trucks that barely get to school working. I guess I was a little star-struck going in there. … I met a lot of great people there. But it was just different, it didn’t fit me.
Falk eventually moved back to Utah midway through his junior season, a switch that resulted in the Utah State High School Athletic Association declaring him ineligible to play that year. It was a major hit to Falk’s recruiting process and the QB spent his junior year filming Logan High games and breaking down film with coach Mike Favero.
5. Florida State Offered a Scholarship – Before Rescinding It
After his early success in high school, the recruiting offers started to roll in for Falk, including a scholarship offer from Florida State University. But his chances with the Seminoles were hurt when he made the move from Logan, Utah to Oaks Christian High School in California.
When Falk was sidelined for his junior season at Logan High School, FSU rescinded is scholarship offer and forced the quarterback to readjust his college football sights. He turned his attention to impressing during his senior season and offers started to come in from Idaho and several Ivy League programs.
Falk eventually committed to Cornell University but when coach Kent Austin left for a stint in the Canadian Football League, he opted to reopen his recruitment. The rest he, hopes is Washington State history.
Editor’s note: Heavy’s partners at DraftKings are gearing up for another football season. Sign up now with DraftKings promo code HEAVY and get a $600 deposit bonus with no season-long commitment.