It was a big weekend for LSU head coach Les Miles as far as recruiting goes, but unlike his trip to California, he's already found a possible fullback right in his own backyard. And, this one won't even cost him a scholarship, because he's a preferred walk-on.
Two-time All State lineman Luke Gomez played his senior year at Parkview Baptist High weighing nearly 300 pounds, while never playing any positions but nose guard and center. However, that's about to change thanks to a phone call last season to his head coach, Kenny Guillot.
"Les Miles had called him and said he was looking for a fullback and coach said that as an athletic big guy, he thinks that would be a great transition for me," said Gomez. "I'm not going to lie. The transition has been pretty hard. I dropped 35 pounds since December 12 and so, it's been very strict eating."
what he had to cut out eating that he liked, his response was, "Everything."
As soon as his season ended, No. 72 was eager to trade his red, white and blue Eagles gear for some purple and gold attire.
"I went up to LSU and walked through the facilities, met with Coach Miles and he said I'd be a good fit there and I'd have a good time and that it'd be a fun place to go for me to play. And, it's always been a dream, especially living in Baton Rouge. My parents had season tickets since I was four," Gomez added.
When questioned if he were to submit a resume for his running back experience, what it would have on there, his answer was, "Two touchdowns in sixth grade."
But what Gomez might lack in experience, he'll likely make up for with effort, as evidenced by the All State center's decision to add defense and special teams to his list of duties last season. And while there are plenty of winning college programs out there, many of them are doing away with the traditional fullback position. But Les Miles is not one of those coaches going away from the two-back system.
"When I went in for my interview, he was like, ‘As long as I'm head coach here, we're always going to have a fullback.' That's something, they use it a good bit of the game. They always run two-back sets with a big back to go block," Gomez explained.
"One of the positive things about Luke is he knows all of the pass protections, which is so important for the back in the passing game and he understands the front and he also understands what the backfield does," said Guillot. "So, I think he'll have a good shot."
"J.C. Copeland, Connor Neighbors, James Stampley - that's what Coach Mayet, the defensive coordinator here and strength and conditioning coach, compares me to James Stampley. Just saying I'm big, nasty, offensive lineman that was athletic enough to go play fullback and be able to do something like that," said Gomez.
Gomez definitely showed some of his athleticism, being able to pull as a center to block on running plays.
"Yes sir, I'd snap and pull and go block a rover, free safety, a corner, depends on what they wanted me to do. I do pretty much anything," Gomez said.
"The only center, other than him that I've ever had pull was Jay Pennison from Nicholls State and he played, I think, seven years with the Houston Oilers. He was a great athlete and same way with Luke," Guillot stated.
Growing up a Tiger fan, Gomez knows what he's getting into and those who've gone before him. And, with Jeremy Hill turning pro, this Parkview Eagle won't have to block for his Redemptorist rival. But, he is well aware the nation's number one recruit, Leonard Fournette, is on the way.
"Somebody goes, ‘You know, your job's not going to be very hard,' and I was like, ‘You're right about that.' It's exciting to play with guys like that. Tremendous talent and there's no doubt he's probably going to play in the league one day," Gomez said.
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