ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Arlington (Texas) offensive tackle Luke Joeckel had a very good week of practice leading up to this past Saturday's Under Armour All-American Game at Tropicana Field. He performed well in the game, too, with his team coming out with a 32-7 victory.
The 6-foot-6, 280-pound Texas A&M commitment was perhaps the most impressive offensive lineman throughout the week, garnering praise each day from the Rivals.com national analysts. However, after more than a month off since his final high school game, Joeckel says it took him a little while to get back into the swing of things.
"I was a little rusty when I first got there, but I thought I did really well," Joeckel said. "My run blocking was phenomenal. I need to still keep working on my pass pro but, other than that, I thought I did real well.
"I look around and they're all a bunch of big, strong guys. We had a good looking offensive line. On one-on-ones during practice, we all did really well. In team drills, we did even better."
On a team full of talented lineman from all across the country, Joeckel earned the nod as the starting left tackle. He says that was a big point of pride.
"It's a big compliment," he said. "It is kind of the most important position, covering the quarterback's blindside. All of the quarterbacks are right-handed, so it was an honor to play, and start at, left tackle."
For the first time in three years, the offensive line dominated most of the drills during practice. Joeckel says there was some good-natured ribbing between the offense and defense. He says he had several good match-ups, but one player stood out.
"There was a lot of joking around," he said. "It wasn't really trash talking, because it was all in good fun. We just wanted to get each other fired up.
"The defensive linemen for our team, they were all really good. There wasn't a huge difference between each one of them, because they're all big and strong and fast. Of course, No. 47 (Dominique Easley) was a beast."
When Joeckel ran onto the field for practice on Wednesday morning, it was the first time in his career as a lineman that he blocked for a quarterback other than his twin brother and fellow A&M commit Matt Joeckel.
"Yes, it is actually the first time," he said. "It's a little weird. When I walked out to practice for the first time, it was weird because he and I usually talk before practice and everything. I just tried to block for whoever was back there, just trying to show everyone that I'm one of the best players out here. Matt was there every day rooting for me and I know he's proud of me."
With the majority of the prospects in the game hailing from the Southeast, Joeckel says he and his fellow Texans felt a sense of responsibility to represent the Lone Star State.
"For sure; we wanted to show everyone that Texas high school football is the best football in the country," he said. "We wanted to come out here and just dominate and let our actions speak for us. I think we did that pretty well."