Overview: Luke Carrezola is a senior who played defensive line for the University of Connecticut. In 2016, he was awarded the Brian Kozlowski Outstanding Big Skill Player by the University of Connecticut. During his college career, he had 121 tackles, 28.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. He has a good football I.Q, is versatile, and also has a great motor.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Luke, during which time he told me more about his background, his personality and his love for football.
C: For the people who do not know your story, how did you wind up choosing University of Connecticut?
LC: Coming out of high school I had two D1 offers. One offer to play TE at Temple University and another to play OLB/DE and the University of Connecticut. I always felt more natural playing defense, and when I visited UConn I fell in love with the facilities and felt that it was the best fit for me as a player and person.
C: How do you plan on making yourself stand out and noticed by NFL scouts?
LC: I plan on making myself standout and noticed by NFL scouts by my years of film at the University of Connecticut and showing them they type of person I am. I am a person that is going to bring energy and my best effort to not just everyday but to every rep and opportunity that I get. I also believe that the smarter the player the better the player, and I believe I will impress them on the board talking about X’s and O’s.
C: What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses?
LC: I believe that some of my strengths consist of, being consistently dependable, meaning that I am going to do my job every play to the best of my ability and also be where I need to be on time. I will play any position or role for the team to be successful. I believe that I have a high motor and am flexible when it comes to playing on the edge, meaning I am able to stand up or play in a three-point stance. I can set a strong edge in the run game and be disruptive in the backfield. I also believe that I am big and can run and would be able to play special teams. I believe I can improve in my pass rush. It is something that I have been working on while training right now with Booger McFarland and Warren Sapp.
C: What separates you from the other players at your position?
LC: I believe what separates myself from other players at my position is my versatility. I have experience playing anywhere from a 3 technique to a wide 9 and dropping into coverage which I don’t believe a lot of OLB/DE have done. This helped me view the game from many positions and gave me an understanding to how a defense is run. I will be able to understand and execute my job and can be able to play in multiple defensive packages. I also believe my effort, passion for football and winning, and love of the process, differentiates from other players.
C: Which current or former NFL player do you think you resemble and why?
LC: I really believe that I am my own player, but some of the players or role models that I watched growing up because of similar styles and body frames included, Chris Long, Connor Barwin, Ryan Kerrigan, and when I watch some of the greats I like to watch Kevin Greene. All of these players have a constant high motors, versatility by being able to play OLB or DE, and love for the game.
C: Who is the toughest player you’ve ever faced in your college career?
LC: Dion Dawkins, Temple and now starts OT for the Buffalo Bills.
C: When did you first fall in love with playing football?
LC: I grew up loving the game of football. I loved it since I was a kid in the front yard with my friends pretending to be like the pros. I watched my older brother have a very successful high school and college football career. Football was everything behind God, family and school growing up. The love for the game has always been there and is never going to go away.
C: How do you prepare for game day? Do you have any game day rituals?
LC: My preparation for game day comes from a strong week of practice and film study. I really try to understand tendencies of whoever I am playing that week. I really believe in not just watching film, but to study it and take notes. Throughout the week I try to apply what I am learning in the film room and meeting rooms onto the field at practice in order to be prepared for the game. I listen to music on the bus every game day and make sure I pray.
C: What is the most inspirational or powerful thing a coach has ever said to you in your college career?
LC: The most inspirational thing a coach has said to me would be two poems read to our team called, “The Indispensable Man” written by White Kissinger and “If” by Rudyard Kipling. These were read by Coach Diaco.
C: What should people reading this interview know about you?
LC: People reading this interview should know that I love the game of football and have loved it for most of my life. They should know that coming out of high school I was a “two star” with only two D1A offers, while my own brother had more than 25. Although this is not the reason I play the game it provides a chip on my shoulder. I have carried this chip, and many others, throughout my whole entire life and is the reason why I continue to believe in myself and the process. They should know despite my record at UConn, I am a winner with a winner’s mentality and that is something that will never change.
Locker Room Update would like to thank Luke Carrezola for taking the time to speak with us. We wish him the best of luck as he continues his journey as a professional football player.
Follow him on Twitter: @Luke_Zola
You can check out his highlights here.
Christa is a syndicated New York Jets beat writer and acts as the primary talent scout for Locker Room Update, where she interviews college football players from around the nation. You can follow her author page on Facebook here for the latest updates.