Dakota Wesleyan football has always been a part of Luke Loudenburg’s life.
“My dad went to college here and played football, so growing up going through grade school and high school, we usually tried to get to a game here once a twice a year or as many times as we could,” said Loudenburg.
When it came to thinking about his college, his decision was only 40 miles from home.
“Came on a couple visits, and then when if one of my friends went on a visit, we would all come. So I probably came on seven or eight visits here, they were probably sick of seeing me,” said Loudenburg.
“You mention Luke Loundenburg in a three hour radius of this place and people either know him personally, or know his family, or they’ve heard of him. So that was a huge commitment for us at that time and he’s done nothing but exceed expectations since he’s been here,” said Dakota Wesleyan Head Coach Ross Cimpl.
Luke shined as a four sport athlete at Howard High School. In addition to being the school’s first four-time state wrestling champion, Luke also won the Class 9A State football title in 2014. That was the same season where he was named South Dakota’s Gatorade Player of the Year. But this small town stand out had to wait his turn before running the field at the college level.
“I came into my fall camp I wanted to prove myself and what not. But coaches, myself, and what not we all had discussions and we just decided that it would be better for me to redshirt. Get an extra year, going from that transition going from nine man to 11 man, it’s a different game,” said Loudenburg.
“Luke could have probably played on special teams for sure, and maybe worked his way into the rotation. But I don’t think he was super excited about the decision immediately, but I think if you asked him now he would be very excited about it,” said Cimpl.
“Looking back at it, at the time I really didn’t want to do it, I just wanted to play football. But at a year like now, being able to still play four years later, I’m so happy that I made that decision,” said Loudenburg.
Five year’s Luke’s number’s speak for itself. In the last three seasons the two-time captain has rushed for more than 2,000 yards, while already finding the endzone four times this season.
“I don’t think he’s flying under the radar by any means, but I do think at times teams or guys underestimate him, but he loves those situations. He’s always got a chip on his shoulder, not in a negative way, but he’s always playing like he has something to prove and I think we’re seeing that this year,” said Cimpl.
Luke only stands 5’6, but he isn’t letting size define him as he makes the most of his time living out his football dream.
“I remember the first year that I actually started our running back coach at the time was Fran Barenau who is the leading rusher of all time in Dakota Wesleyan history, and he’s like ‘well now that you’ve proved everyone wrong that a person of your stature can play that position, now you have to go out here and leave your legacy here’. So just hearing those words from someone that has so much success at this level, it was kind of eye opening. So that’s what I have tried to do, not settle, i’s not proving myself anymore it’s continue to play the game that I love,” said Loudenburg.
Luke says he wants to stay involved with football following college, whether that be in coaching or as a strength and conditioning coach.
Dakota Wesleyan plays at Dordt this Saturday at 1:00 in Sioux Center, Iowa.