Bryant Hornets head coach Buck James related on Wednesday that whenever there was a workout, or a quarterback wanted to throw passes, or anyone was doing work in the weight room, somehow Luke Curtis found a way to be there. He’d re-arrange whatever else was going on in his life to work it out.
It was that kind of work ethic, that kind of quiet leadership and dedication that put Curtis in a position to be where he was on Wednesday. It was National Signing Day and he was there at Big Blue, the Bryant field house, along with five of his teammates signing his own letter of intent to continue his education and football career in college.
Curtis’ choice was Arkansas Tech University in Russellville.
“The only other place I really considered was OBU (Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia,” he stated. “I just like Arkansas Tech more. That’s just where I felt the most at home. I just really liked it there. I really liked the coaches and what they’re doing. It’s where I wanted to be.”
“Luke, when I got here was probably about 155-pound guy,” said James. “I can’t say enough about how hard he’s worked to grow his body, to get stronger, to catch the football. He’s been a relentless worker, a guy that’s earned it the right way.”
As a junior, Curtis, playing at H back for his blocking ability as well as wide receiver, had 18 catches for 182 yards and two touchdowns. His first TD came early in the fourth quarter to start a Bryant surge that turned a narrow 20-17 edge against Little Rock Central into a 41-17 route.
As a senior, he hauled in 29 passes for 335 yards and two more scores including a 34-yard strike with just nine seconds left in the first half of the 2017 Salt Bowl that snapped a 21-21 tie.
His second scoring grab came right before the half against the eventual State champion North Little Rock Charging Wildcats, giving the Hornets a 14-13 lead.
“I’m proud of how far Luke has come as a player,” James stated. “He probably met and exceeded what expectations we had for him. He was a general out there for us. He was a good leader. He led by example, a guy I feel very fondly about from the standpoint of what he did to help make our football team better.”
Said Curtis, “After my sophomore year, when Coach James got here was when I really started to put on weight, getting bigger and just growing into my body, the way where I can play and compete and maybe play college football. The last two years, what Coach James has done has really helped me and been a blessing.”
“Luke has worked hard to get his weight and strength up to a certain level,” said James. “He’s a little over 235 pounds now (and about 6’5”). His best football is still ahead of him because, really, he’ll be playing more the role he needs to be with the team.
“They’re recruiting him as a tight end, which will be a little different than what he played, probably, the majority of the time for us,” the coach added. “He was more of an H back, receiver for us.”
“They have an H back there right now,” Curtis said, regarding what the ATU coaches said about his play there. “It’s his fifth year. But they want me to be a traditional tight end because he’s been playing out of position. They want a traditional tight end.”
“He’s a ferocious blocker,” James remarked. “He’s physical. He’s got a lot of fire in his belly that allows him to have some success doing that.
“Then he has sure hands,” he continued. “In the college game, he’ll only have to beat linebackers. That will be a much easier task for him as he grows to get bigger and stronger.”