To be clear, former Petaluma High School football captain Luke Haggard isn’t thinking about the NFL. But at least one of his former coaches believes he has a shot at playing on Sundays.
Haggard (No. 70, pictured above at PHS) started four games at left tackle last season for the surging Indiana Hoosiers, who finished the pandemic-shortened campaign as the No. 12 team in the country. I watched as much as I could, being from Petaluma, and Haggard looked fantastic, even when he started against Ohio State.
But man, did he look slender out there. He was supposed to redshirt, but injuries pressed him into action. He went to battle against Big Ten foes at 6-foot-7, 275 pounds, but held his own nonetheless.
Petaluma High School Trojans football coach, Rick Krist, told me he thought Haggard played exceptionally well and has a shot at the NFL, due to his quickness.
“He stands out to me in those games, with his quickness. He’s got a skill set that other left tackles don’t have.” said Krist, who noted he thought Haggard played his best game against Ohio State. “I think if he gains a little more weight, he has a really good shot at the NFL.”Petaluma Argus-Couier
Krist points to Haggard’s weight, and rightfully so. When I told him that Haggard is now 295 pounds, he wasn’t surprised, due to Haggard’s work ethic and demeanor.
“He was always a focused kid. Always even-keel,” said Krist. “He doesn’t get caught up with things that are around him. He’s going to put in the work every day. He’s not going to make excuses. He’s going to do it the right way. He did that at Petaluma High.”
I asked Haggard if he had any goals, and he didn’t mention the NFL. He simply said he wants to impress coach Tom Allen and be a part of a winning program at Indiana. The OT is very happy where his path led him, from PHS, to Santa Rosa Junior College to Bloomington, Ind., and he’s, well, focused.
But I agree with Krist. I was thinking the same thing watching Haggard play. Like, if he can hold his own at an inexperienced 275 pounds, what about when he has a few games under his belt, along with extra weight? His tall frame is perfectly suited for extra mass. And he has two more seasons at IU to go, since all players receive an extra year of eligibility due to the pandemic.
Haggard is being smart and sensible here, however. First, let’s see if he can improve and earn a starting spot either this year or next. Regardless, Haggard is having a blast playing big time college football at IU, and that’s a North Bay success story in its own right.