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Luke Michael Willson[1] (born January 15, 1990) is a Canadian professional American football tight end who is currently a free agent. He was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Rice University.[2] He was previously selected by the Toronto Argonauts in the 2012 CFL Draft, but did not sign.

Luke Willson
refer to caption
Willson with the Seattle Seahawks in 2013
Free agent
Position:Tight end
Personal information
Born: (1990-01-15) January 15, 1990 (age 29)
LaSalle, Ontario
Height:6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Weight:251 lb (114 kg)
Career information
High school:St. Thomas of Villanova
(LaSalle, Ontario)
College:Rice
NFL Draft:2013 / Round: 5 / Pick: 158
CFL draft:2012 / Round: 5 / Pick: 32
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2018
Receptions:102
Receiving yards:1,216
Receiving touchdowns:11
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Willson played with the Canadian Junior National baseball team in 2008. In 2011, he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays organization, but decided to return to football.[3][4]

Contents

Early yearsEdit

Willson attended St. Thomas of Villanova Catholic Secondary School in LaSalle, Ontario, near Windsor, and was all-conference three times in football.[1] He had 29 receptions for 638 receiving yards along with eight receiving touchdowns in his senior season.[1] Willson was selected as the school's athlete of the year in both his junior and senior seasons,[1] and graduated in 2008.

College careerEdit

Willson played as a tight end for Rice University each year from 2009 through 2012. His position coach at Rice was former Detroit Lions tight end David Sloan.[5] After reporting late to camp in 2008 due to his baseball commitments in Canada, Willson redshirted as a true freshman.

Freshman seasonEdit

Willson finished his redshirt freshman year with 7 receptions for 122 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown.[6]

Sophomore seasonEdit

He finished his sophomore season in 2010 with a total of 33 receptions, 425 receiving yards, and 3 receiving touchdowns.[6]

Junior seasonEdit

In 2011, he was selected to Phil Steele's midseason All-Conference USA team as tight end.[1] He was selected to the Consensus first-team preseason All C-USA and also was selected to the first team of Dave Campbell's Texas Football All-Texas College preseason team before his junior season.[1] He finished his junior season with 29 receptions, 313 receiving yards, and 3 receiving touchdowns.[6]

Senior seasonEdit

Willson finished his senior season in 2012 with a total of nine receptions for 126 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns,[6] which earned him a spot in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

Professional careerEdit

Seattle SeahawksEdit

Willson played in every game for Seattle in 2013 and scored his first touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers. At the end of the regular season, Willson was graded as the second most valuable rookie tight end by Football Outsiders, despite being the eighth tight end selected in the 2013 Draft.

Willson's rookie season was capped with a blowout win in Super Bowl XLVIII. Willson caught two passes for 17 yards in the Seahawks' 43–8 victory over the Denver Broncos.[7]

Willson's second season in 2014 saw an increased role when starting tight end Zach Miller was injured after a Week 4 Super Bowl rematch against Denver, eventually ending up on injured reserve.[8] Willson caught a game-winning 23 yard touchdown pass with less than a minute left in week 8 against the Carolina Panthers. He later starred in a week 16 game against the Arizona Cardinals, catching three passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Willson ended the season with 22 catches for 362 yards and three touchdowns.

In that season's playoffs, Willson caught four passes for 68 yards and a touchdown in a divisional round game against the Carolina Panthers. A week later, he caught a key two-point conversion in the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers, as the Seahawks rallied to defeat the Packers 28–22 to reached consecutive Super Bowls. In Super Bowl XLIX, Willson had no catches as the Seahawks failed to repeat as champions, defeated 28–24 by the New England Patriots, who rallied in the fourth quarter behind quarterback Tom Brady.[9]

On March 17, 2017, Willson re-signed with the Seahawks.[10]

Detroit LionsEdit

After five years in Seattle, Willson signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Detroit Lions on March 21, 2018.[11]

Oakland RaidersEdit

On March 29, 2019, Willson was signed by the Oakland Raiders.[12] He was released during final roster cuts on August 30, 2019.[13]

Personal lifeEdit

Willson is a practicing Catholic who attributes his success in life to being a part of the Catholic Church.[14] Willson had a Tuesday guest spot with BJ & Migs Mornings on 99.9 KISW "The Rock of Seattle" radio station titled "The End Zone with Luke Willson."

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Rice Owls Profile". riceowls.com.
  2. ^ "Wilson to Willson? Seahawks choose TE Luke Willson in NFL Draft's fifth round". Seattle Pi. April 27, 2013.
  3. ^ "Will it be NFL or Jays for Canada's Luke Willson?". Baseball Canada. August 26, 2011.
  4. ^ "Canadian's decision to choose football over baseball about to pay off". The Globe and Mail. April 24, 2013.
  5. ^ "TE Luke Willson is a lifelong Lions fan who dressed up as Barry Sanders -- twice". MLive.com. March 21, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d "College Statistics". sports-reference.com.
  7. ^ "Super Bowl XLVIII". nfl.com. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  8. ^ Smith, Michael David (November 12, 2014). "Seahawks put Zach Miller on injured reserve". Pro Football Talk. NBC Sports.
  9. ^ https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/W/WillLu00/gamelog/2014/
  10. ^ Jackson, Zac (March 17, 2017). "Seahawks bring back Luke Willson, DeShawn Shead". ProFootballTalk.NBCSports.com.
  11. ^ "Lions sign unrestricted free agent TE Luke Willson". DetroitLions.com. March 21, 2018.
  12. ^ "Raiders sign tight end Luke Willson". Raiders.com. March 29, 2019.
  13. ^ "Raiders announce transactions - 8.30.19". Raiders.com. August 30, 2019. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
  14. ^ "Seattle Seahawks' Tight End Staying Loose Before the Super Bowl". National Catholic Register. January 31, 2014.

External linksEdit