July 11, 2012
This is part of a series spotlighting the players attending C-USA Football Media Day, July 25 in Dallas. Interviews from the event will be streamed live on ConferenceUSA.com.
Veteran tight end Luke Willson is a key part of a Rice offense that is ready to continue its development this fall as the Owls seek to climb up the ladder in the Conference USA standings.
82 LUKE WILLSON, RICE
Senior TE 6-5 250 (LaSalle, Ontario/St. Thomas of Villanova)
Rice: Solid candidate for tight end honors in his final season....Named to the John Mackey Award Watch List for the nation's top Tight End on July 10.
2012: Spent time in the Toronto Blue Jays' extended spring training camp in May before returning to Rice in June to begin preparations for his senior year...Drafted by the Toronto Argonauts in the 4th round of the CFL draft this spring... Named to the first team of Dave Campbell's Texas Football All Texas College preseason team for the second straight year.
2011: Second-team All C-USA by Phil Steele and Honorable mention All C-USA selection by conference coaches... Named to Dave Campbell's Texas Football All Texas College posteason first team...Second on the team with 313 receiving yards and three touchdown catches....Third with 29 catches... Returned to the starting lineup vs. Tulane after missing the UTEP game and seeing limited action vs. Northwestern... Topped 100 yards receiving for the first time in his career along with a career-best seven catches and a touchdown vs. Tulsa...Has at least two catches in 11of his last 12 games... Led the team with four catches vs. Purdue and tied the game with a four-yard TD catch on the final play of the first half... Caught a pair of passes in the opener at Texas...Selected to the Mackey Award midseason watch list... Named to Phil Steele's midseason All C-USA team at tight end... Consensus first-team preseason All C-USA...selection and also named to the first team of Dave Campbell's Texas FootballAll Texas College preseason team.
2010: Redshirt sophomore's hard work in the weight room translated into a breakout year... Led the team with 425 yards receiving and second with 33 receptions in 11 games... Caught a career-best six for 65 yards at Tulane.... Caught a career-long, 55-yard TD at Tulsa... Caught at least one pass in 10 of 11 games he played in (missed one because of an injury)... Caught three passes for 46 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown from Nick Fanuzzi vs. Houston... Caught one pass for six yards vs. SMU... Set a new career-high for receptions for the third consecutive game, catching five for 37 yards vs. Northwestern... Caught four passes for a career-high 86 yards and a touchdown at North Texas... Eclipsed his previous best for receptions set one week earlier vs. Texas (3).
2009: Started a pair of games (Texas Tech and Oklahoma State) as the Owls opened in a two tight end set... Caught a pair of passes vs. Vanderbilt... Made his starting debut at Texas Tech when the Owls opened in a two tight end set after a goal line stand gave Rice the ball at the Red Raiders' two-yard line...Caught a 52-yard scoring pass from Nick Fanuzzi for his first career reception in his debut at UAB.
2008: Redshirted in his first year after reporting late to camp because of his commitment to the Canadian Junior National Baseball team.
St. Thomas of Villanova High School: Three-year all conference selection for coach Tim Maitre... Caught 29 passes for 638 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior on offense, while racking up 60 tackles, including five sacks, on defense... Named his school's Athlete of the Year as both a junior and a senior... Also played on a summer team, the Essex Ravens, and caught 18 passes for 473 yards and 10 touchdowns... played hockey, baseball and soccer in addition to competing in track in high school... Played with the Canadian Junior National baseball team after his senior year of high school... Team toured major league spring training sites to play against various Extended Spring Training teams as well as the Dominican Republic to play several MLB teams' Dominican Summer League entries before competing with the Canadian Juniors at the World Championships in Calgary... Carried a 4.0 GPA.
Personal: Full Name: Luke Michael Willson.. Born: Jan. 15, 1990 at Windsor, Ontario... Parents: Mike and Wilma Willson, LaSalle, Ontario (two brothers, one sister)... Father played football at the University of Windsor and played on a senior baseball team that won eight Canadian Senior championships... twin older brothers (Eric and Greg) play football at the University of Western Ontario... Uncle (Rob Biasutto) played basketball at the University of Detroit and the University of Windsor... Rice major: Philosophy and Political Science with a Business minor.